• A Different Approach To Medical Research - Open Heart

    by Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD
    on Feb 27th, 2015

We tend to like to get the latest medical recommendations from "our personal doctors" because we believe it is their responsibility to stay current and to weigh the appropriateness of newer recommendations. We don't really like when the recommendations change because it frightening to think that we may not be following the best advice.

For example we recently learned that our excessive intake of sugar and not salt may be responsible for our high blood pressure. We are learning that children's peanut allergy may be ameliorated by introducing peanuts into a child's diet when they are very young.

The changing recommendations can be confusing but this is not necessarily bad. We need ongoing research to help us determine and to revise (if necessary) our clinical practices. Today with the speed of information dissemination, it is a challenge for doctors -myself included- to keep up. Today we see more recommendations and practice guidelines being issued by expert panels. The expectation is that other doctors and health care providers will then incorporate these recommendations and guidelines into their practice - or at least that is the hope.

Thanks to the internet, today the latest medical research can be presented directly to the public - consider Open Heart. Open Heart is an online cardiology journal which is published by the British Medical Journal in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society. After a thorough review process to assure the quality and data integrity, access to the latest research is free and made available to anyone with internet access. How is this financially viable? Rather than have the reader pay for access to the research; those submitting research pay to get publish. In return, researchers get the opportunity for rapid publication worldwide by a well respected medical journal.

This is a paradigm shift and a novel approach which will help to democratize access to medical information. Bravo.

Author Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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