The PubMed Maze

Yes, you can search for just about anything on Pubmed as it related to medicine and health. If you have no background in a good “journal club” then you are being led down a road that is complicated but not impossible. What is this like? For most, it is like the guy at the race track that has a complicated table of data in which he thinks he can figure out which horse is going to win. Maybe that is a slight exaggeration.

That doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in PubMed. It is important that this information is available, so you can become as I say, your own authority for your health, and this involves you doing your own research.

The problem becomes when people make decisions based on just the abstract, which is the summary of the scientific article and they have no background in evaluating the study. What is this like? It is very much like making a decision on what movie to watch based on the coming attractions. For movies, yes, sometimes, for making decisions for your health, not so much.

And what is a “journal club?” It is what we do in medical residency training when we tear apart articles as a group. Most can be humbled like a white belt masquerading as a black belt because for the overwhelming majority, that is exactly the situation you have.

Be cautious with drawing conclusions from PubMed. Enough said! It is a starting point, not a place to draw conclusions.

Published by

Jonathan Carp, MD

Dermatologist, health food entrepreneur, beach addict, and health teacher.