Data Art

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Blum Data Art


Alan Blum

About the contributor: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“For the past five years, on the first Thursday evening of each month, I have hosted an Art of Medicine Rounds for medical students, residents and faculty, at which I often distribute a story or poem from Pulse or else one of JAMA’s ‘Art and Medicine’ or ‘A Piece of My Mind’ essays.

Above and beyond being a devoted reader of JAMA, I am especially drawn to the illustrations, tables and figures in its original scientific articles. I confess that the content is often over my head. But I feel that many of these figures can stand alone as works of art. The two images that comprise this visual originally appeared in two JAMA articles. The top figure is entitled ‘Differences in Gene Expression Between LPC- and LSC-Enriched Subpopulations’ (1); the lower figure is ‘Linkage Disequilibrium Pattern of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in ABCA7 Based on the HapMap Reference Sample (African Americans in the Southwest USA) and NCBI36/hg18 Genome Build’ (2).

“In or out of context, I find them simply beautiful.”

  1. Gentles AJ, Plevritis SK, Majeti R, Alizadeh AA. Association of a leukemic stem cell gene expression signature with clinical outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia.  2010;304(24):2706-2715. Reproduced with permission from JAMA. Copyright c 2010  American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
  1. Reitz C, Jun G, Naj A, et al. Variants in the ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCA7) apolipoprotein E e4, and the risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease in African Americans. JAMA. 2013;319(14):1483-1492. Reproduced with permission from JAMA. Copyright c 2013 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

Visuals editor:

Sara Kohrt


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