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MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

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Presentation on theme: "MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ"— Presentation transcript:

1 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

2 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Whoever tells the truth, sooner or later will be caught doing it —Oscar Wilde TThe importance of communicating science WWhat is (bio)medical journalism? TThe role of scientific publications RReading well WWriting well AAnd, very well… MMultitude of opportunities What I want you to take home from this workshop… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

3 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why should you communicate science to everyone? BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Open discussion…

4 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research What is (bio)medical journalism? BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Imagine a bridge…

5 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Whoever tells the truth, sooner or later will be caught doing it —Oscar Wilde What is (bio)medical journalism? BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Scientific research The world Public and professional readers

6 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research The role of scientific publications BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

7 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Whoever tells the truth, sooner or later will be caught doing it —Oscar Wilde The role of scientific publications BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

8 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Reading well… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

9 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research The only demand I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to my works —James Joyce Why should you start reading biomedical journals when you’re only a student? Medical journals are a way for doctors to keep abreast of the most recent and relevant developments in their field. This is essential for long term medical practice, as medicine is a constantly changing field. Reading… The first step towards writing… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

10 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why should you start reading biomedical journals when you’re only a student? Practice makes perfect. By starting early, you stand to gain a good reading habit, which is perhaps the hardest thing to achieve. Reading… The first step towards writing… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

11 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why should you start reading biomedical journals when you’re only a student? Regular reading stimulates and sharpens one's judgment of a paper. Passive absorption of any medical information could prove disastrous. Reading… The first step towards writing… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

12 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why should you start reading biomedical journals when you’re only a student? Reading medical journals will also make medical students aware of the importance of sustained research (basic science or clinico-epidemiological) in medicine. Reading… The first step towards writing… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

13 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why should you start reading biomedical journals when you’re only a student? Finally, it is worth remembering that medical journals convey information, information that is power, and power in the noblest sense of the word: power to change things and to influence attitudes, behaviours, and decisions. And, most importantly, power to help your fellow human beings. Reading… The first step towards writing… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

14 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Apart from providing good information, reading helps improve your own writing… Learn to distinguish between good writing and bad Create personal preferences Find your own writing model Reading… Beyond information… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

15 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Begin simply, and do not worry about understanding everything that you read. Always have a medical dictionary with you, and when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask someone you trust. Start with student medical journals to get a feel for reading journals, and then progress to general medical journals. Preferably, read review articles before you go on to read research papers. Reading… A few tips… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

16 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research It might be helpful to read “How to read a paper” by Trisha Greenhalgh or JAMA's “User Guides to the Medical Literature” before you start reading research articles. Try reading general science journals and general medical journals in the corresponding years of your medical education. Not only are both indispensable, but they may be helpful if you're planning a career in research. Personal taste and preferences will come in due course, as well as a sense of usefulness and enjoyment, which ideally come hand in hand. Reading… A few tips… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

17 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Writing well… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

18 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Science exists because scientits are writers and speakers —Scott Montgomery Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought. So think what you want to say, then say it as simply as possible. Keep in mind George Orwell's six elementary rules ("Politics and the English Language", 1946): 1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. 3. If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out. 4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. The basics… Source: The Economist Style Guide

19 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Don’t believe people who tell you that writing is easy —Alex Paton Ask yourself the following questions: What do I want to write about? What kind of article should I be writing? Who is going to read my work? Where would I be submitting this work? Do I have enough time to plan and research the article? What would be the best way to go about writing the article? Before you begin… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

20 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Scholarly writing Original research articles Review articles Editorials Art/Book reviews Popular writing News items Feature articles Personal views and analyses Columns Type of articles BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

21 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Editors are easily pleased, but not often —Alistair Brewis Who is going to read your work? General public? Be simple, and don’t assume prior knowledge Researchers? Be accurate and to the point Scholars? Don’t waste time in history, they know it Professional colleagues (GPs, for example)? Tell them what they need to know Students? Keep it relevant to students, and don’t patronise Know your audience BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

22 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research The world of medical journalism is small, varied, and bitchy and is probably not for the faint hearted… —Stella Lowry, Richard Smith Pitch the idea to the editor, where appropriate Read their “instructions to authors” Look at their “style guide” Write a covering letter to sell your article Give them adequate time to process your submission Be prepared for rejection Do not hesitate to appeal or to resubmit Always learn from your mistakes Submitting to a publication BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Some points to remember

23 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Research Use every resource available at your disposal—Books, Journals, Magazines, Internet Choose from a wide range of sources—original studies, review articles, monographs, interviews, personal communications, conferences, press releases Ensure the credibility of your sources Make sure that you cite the sources when you use them, else you might be accused of plagiarism Research, organise and revise BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

24 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Plan a proper structure for the article, and stick to it To write is to experiment, and writing is a science—so, take time to structure the article Where it is possible to avoid redundancy, avoid it; it is always a struggle deciding what to leave out Have an engaging introduction, logical development of the body, and an appropriate conclusion Research, organise and revise BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Organise

25 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Revise Ask yourself the following questions: Organisation  Is there a proper beginning and a conclusion?  Does the article flow logically from one part to the next?  Are there any factual or logical errors? Style  Does it conform to the style of the publisher?  Are the sentences clear, short, and unambiguous?  Does the article make an easy reading? Research, organise and revise BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

26 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Writing very well… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

27 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ An abstract from a research paper, which you ought to summarise for a magazine/journal: “ Using adoptive transfer of lymphocytes given after host immunodepletion it is possible to mediate objective cancer regression in patients with metastatic melanoma. However, the generation of tumor- specific T cells in this mode of immunotherapy is often limiting. Using a retrovirus encoding a T cell receptor, we report here the ability to specifically confer tumor recognition by autologous lymphocytes from peripheral blood. Adoptive transfer of these transduced cells in fifteen patients resulted in durable engraftment at levels exceeding ten percent of peripheral blood lymphocytes for at least two months post infusion. We observed high sustained levels of circulating, engineered cells at one year post-infusion in two patients, that both demonstrated objective regression of metastatic melanoma lesions. This study suggests the therapeutic potential of genetically engineered cells for the biologic therapy of cancer.” Example One. Source: Science 2006; Published Online, August 31

28 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Here’s how we have transformed it… “The enemy within… The vertebrate immune system, in a limited way, can recognise and destroy cancer cells arising from within the host by recognising them as foreign (or non-self). However, many tumour cells escape this immune detection, and do go on to cause cancer. Scientists have been looking for a way to improve this defence mechanism, and gene therapy seems to be a possible solution. T lymphocytes were extracted from the blood of patients who had malignant melanoma. They were infected with genetically modified retroviruses carrying the gene for receptors that can recognise melanomatous cells. Once infected, the retroviruses created double stranded DNA from their RNA, and incorporated the DNA into the host T cell. In effect, the T cells now began to express the genes that would enable them to recognise cancer cells as foreign. The experimental treatment was tried on 17 patients with advanced melanoma, who had a life expectancy of 3 to 6 months. Two of the patients had complete remission after 18 months of treatment. Although the modified T cells survived in the remaining 15, the expression of the crucial gene for melanoma receptors gradually waned. Further research is needed to extend and improve this therapeutic modality to other forms of cancer. Example One. Source: studentBMJ 2006;14:355

29 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ A press release reads: “Over 250 people have registered their intention to take part in Europe's very first sponsored Masturbate- a-thon in London today, reports organiser Marie Stopes International. People from all walks of life and social class and every shade of sexuality are expected to attend the specially converted photographers' studios in Clerkenwell. The Masturbate-A-Thon is the brainchild to two American sexologists, Dr Carol Queen and Dr Robert Lawrence, and has run in the US for the past six years raising over $25,000 for women's health initiatives and HIV prevention, education and treatment organisations. This event will also benefit HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust. At the Masturbate-a-thon, participants get loved ones to sponsor them for a certain amount of money for every minute they masturbate during the Masturbate-A-Thon, the number of orgasms they achieve or simply for having the courage to turn up and take part! In aid of global sexual and reproductive health agency Marie Stopes International, and sponsored by ID Lubricants (UK), the leading UK brand of personal lubricants, the event also aims to act as a public education device to increase the use of self pleasure as a strategy for safer sex and to dispel the shame and taboos that still persist around the subject of masturbation. Example Two. Source:

30 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ Here’s how the studentBMJ’s version for our humourous section, Eyespy, reads: “In support of (arguably) the safest form of sex, Marie Stopes International organised Europe's first ever "masturbate-a-thon" on 5 August in London. Their aim was to dispel the shame and taboos that still persist around this form of sexual activity. Participants were sponsored by friends and loved ones, and the event took place in an (arguably) welcoming environment, with dedicated areas to suit all tastes - from solo booths for the more nervous to mixed sex areas for the adventurous. That the adventurous were not allowed to venture beyond their allotted territory should not come as a surprise.” Example Two. Source: studentBMJ 2006;14:352

31 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Multitude of opportunities… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

32 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research What you must on no account do is wait for inspiration —John Braine Five simple steps to get published in the studentBMJ Pitch the idea to the editor Consult the author guidelines available on our website studentbmj.com Write the article, with an expert, if necessary Submit the article at Wait for a decision after peer-review Write for us… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

33 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Why not work with us? Become a student adviser for the sBMJ—This will tell you how your paper will be assessed by the BMJ Apply for the Clegg Scholarship—Come to the offices of the BMJ in London, and learn all about medical journalism by working with us for eight weeks Steal my job—become the next student editor Get involved with us… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ

34 MEDICAL JOURNALISM The quintessential arm of biomedical research Greenhalgh, Trisha. How to read a paper. BMJ Books, Blackwell Publishing Albert, Tim. Medical Journalism—the writer’s guide. Radcliffe Medical Press, Oxford Sackett, David and colleagues. Clinical Epidemiology.A basic science for clinical medicine. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Massachusetts The Economist Style Guide/Oxford Style Guide Turner, Barry. Writer’s Yearbook. MacMillan Montgomery, Scott. The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Recommended reading… BALAJI RAVICHANDRAN Editor, studentBMJ


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