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Every week I get asked, at least a dozen times, some variant of the following question: “Peter, I live in So-and-so and I really wish I could find a doctor who understands X, Y, Z. ” I usually don’t have an answer for them but I’m convinced there is a way to play for like-minded doctors and patients to find each other.When over 3,000 articles are published daily on Pub Med, and when the vast majority of the subsequent reporting on those articles appears dubious (at best), it pains me to even think of computing the signal-to-noise ratio people face when they want the straight dope on any given subject relating to their health.Let me re-state this: 80 percent of studies that are peer-reviewed and published are (or were), it seems, so utterly useless that no one ever cites them more than once.
I mostly wrote about nutrition, but soon my interest in slightly more esoteric topics—such as lipidology—influenced what I wrote about.
Over the last few years competition for my time and energy have resulted in blogging being at the bottom of the priority list, somewhere just above watching reality TV (which I don’t watch) and just below rec league bocce ball (which I don’t play).
Once the book is out, we’ll also publish the “outtakes” (i.e., the stuff the publisher felt was too dense for the book).
And—eventually—what I really hope will come of all this is something that so many of you have been asking of me for years: an online forum where patients and doctors can find each other.
(In addition, self-citation accounted for up to 20% of all citations.
It may not be a stretch to think that some of those solo citations came from the eponymous author[s].) On top of that, 10% of the academic journals probably got 90% of the citations.My “work” obligations, even with the huge reduction I deliberately made in exercise time, made it too difficult for me to keep up. Today, my practice employs a team of research analysts who are not just exceptionally bright and voracious consumers of literature, but also people who are so naturally curious (arguably the one skill I can’t really teach) that when you give them a problem, it’s just a matter of time until our collective knowledge on the topic will be increased.The list of “To read” papers on my desktop was becoming an eyesore. Over the past year the volume of reports we’ve created—both in response to patient questions and our more elaborate proactive research agenda—has been impressive, though largely underused. We’ve even created an internal helpdesk to moderate, organize, prioritize, and keep track of our work.What started as a weekly email to a handful of friends grew into a substantially longer list of friends, then friends of friends, and quickly expanded to complete strangers.By late 2011, I decided to start putting my emails into long format and posting them as blogs.But there is an obstacle to consuming research (there are many obstacles, actually, but this one seems particularly troublesome): time. Sleep, patient care (“work”), time with family, exercise, all chip away at this magic 168 number. Which fasting protocol is “better,” 5/25 or daily intermittent fasting?