Reflections of a Medical Blogger

19 05 2010

Dr. Robert Centor (‘db’) over at DB’s Medical Rants has a great post today about what it’s like to be a medical blogger.  It’s a great read, and I couldn’t agree with him more.  While I’ve only been at it for a little over a year, he has over 8 under his belt.

We get into blogging for various reasons, but most of us stay with it because we want to share our passion with the world.  I suppose that might sound hokey to a degree, but I firmly believe it to be true.  I don’t run this site because I have to; I do it because it’s amazing fun.

I’ll excerpt it here, but please head over to DB’s Medical Rants for more interesting posts like this. Enjoy the read.

College and medical school took 8 years.  I have spent as much time on this blog as I did in my post high school education!  What has blogging done for me?

The most important benefit of blogging has come from the discipline and repetitive experience of writing.  I have over 4000 posts!  Writing can only improve if you practice writing.  Prior to this blog I went through a period of writer’s block.  Blogging become the cure.  My writing has improved.  Or at least I hope it has.

Blogging has stimulated my thinking.  Because I blog I pay attention to issues more seriously.  When I read a newspaper story about medical care, or read a new medical article I wonder if there is a blogging angle.  I get the opportunity to play with ideas.  Through blogging play I often refine my thoughts.

Surprisingly, blogging has stimulated several academic papers.  My current obsession with Fusobacterium necrophorum pharyngitis developed because I happened to write about Lemierre syndrome.  This issue and other pharyngitis issues have stimulated many papers and talks on the pharyngitis paradigm.  Through this blog I began once again to think seriously about a problem that I had “abandoned” for 10 years.

Blogging has stimulated my thoughts on guidelines and performance measures.  I have used ideas developed on this blog for talks and papers.

But most important, blogging is fun.  I find that I enjoy the creative process.  Through my blogging I have “met” many wonderful writers – some actually in person.  I belong to a wonderful community of medical bloggers and blog readers.

Thanks to the many readers who leave comments and those who stop me to tell me how much they enjoy my blog.  Thanks to the many students and residents who seem to admire my blog.  I hope that I entertain and stimulate your thinking.  If I do that, I am a success.

No, thank you DB for all the hard work and resulting entertaining and insightful posts.


You can’t believe everything you read in the news…

14 05 2010

The Albany Times Union put out an article the other day about a group of Albany Medical College students who have taken it upon themselves to basically make journal clubs out of health-related articles in popular magazines.  The idea came to one student after he read an article about how low-carb diets can cure acne.  After looking further into the story, he found that the journal article that was the source of the magazine article was poorly constructed and easily defeated upon critical review.  Since then, the idea has spread to include multiple medical students reviewing multiple popular periodicals from Cosmo to Men’s Health to the Wall Street Journal.

We’ve all been there before.  A friend or a family member reads something in the paper or hears something on the news and then either asks of if what they read/heard was true, or they insist that what they heard is the truth because they heard it on CNN.  From cancer-smelling dogs, to Sweet-and-Low, to Hot Yoga, I’ve, personally been peppered with these pop-medical topics.  Sometimes I’ve had to correct my friends, other times I’ve been quite surprised to learn something new!

I guess as physicians we are almost behooved to stay well-versed and maintain a critical eye when dealing with pop-medicine so that we can provide accurate consultation services to our lay brethren, because it is clear that the media doesn’t always check its facts before publishing a story about the next big medical breakthrough.

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