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May 6, 1998

The Power of the Pen: Medical Journalism and Public Awareness

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JAMA. 1998;279(17):1400. doi:10.1001/jama.279.17.1400-JMS0506-4-0

With approximately 4000 journals indexed on MEDLINE, containing more than 9 million abstracts, the sheer mass of emerging biomedical knowledge is overwhelming.1 Unfortunately, there is a gap between the wealth of expanding information and the quality of public health, partly because of the difficulty of dispensing this information to the lay public. The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine noted recently that "the problem of [communicating health] is not in the research itself but in the way it is interpreted for the public."2 To facilitate the flow of pertinent medical research to the public at large, we rely on the skills of medical journalists.