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April 19, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(3):248. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080160068020

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Most physicians, we believe, make an honest effort to keep abreast of the literature in their field. They are quite properly annoyed, then, when patients ask questions about new drugs or theories which have not yet been reported in the scientific journals. Even more disturbing to the physician, however, should be the fact that scientific information which is reported first by the lay media—newspapers, magazines, radio, and television —frequently is untried and may even be untrue.

It is sad that some investigators—to be sure, often under pressure from the sponsoring institution's public relations department—release new medical information to the various nonmedical news media before the results have been published in a medical journal. It thus happens that information which has not had the benefit of criticism is made public, is subjected to misinterpretation, and may work to the detriment of the very patients it purports to help. Such methods of

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