[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
January 23, 1981

In Praise of 'Letters'

JAMA. 1981;245(4):376. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310290044024

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.

Abstract

In trying to keep up to date with the literature, the medical journal reader will turn to original articles. Here he will find reports on large-scale studies either confirming or discrediting accepted ideas and practices. If lucky, he may even strike a new observation, possibly one in the nature of a breakthrough.

When in a less ambitious mood, our reader will glimpse through the letters to the editor. There he will find a mix of useful tips, whether based on anecdotal evidence or derived from modest preliminary studies. These tips may suggest improvements, however small, in diagnostic or therapeutic techniques; they may provide new or revive old clues to prognosis; occasionally they may even suggest a lifesaving maneuver.

Such a mélange of tips can be found in any letters to the editor section of reputable medical journals. For instance, browsing through the letters of a randomly selected issue of the

×