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May 22, 1987

One-Minute Medicine

JAMA. 1987;257(20):2798. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390200138030

AMERICANS are working hard to stay well. They're hungry for health, and they're hungry for medical news.

People used to receive information about health and disease only from their physicians—but not anymore. The major sources for medical information now seem to be monthly columns in women's magazines, diet and fitness books, celebrity exercise tapes—and television. Patients no longer have to go to their personal physicians to discover what's good and bad for them: they can find out about it on TV.

Each television network has its own medical editor to translate that day's medical events. Morning talk shows feature TV doctors dispensing medical advice over the nation's airwaves. And virtually every local station sends a syndicated "specialist" into the viewer's living room to warn of the dangers of the modern world.

Medical news isn't limited only to commercial stations— cable systems deliver continuing medical education not just to the physicians