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February 1970

"Words Are Like Leaves"

Arch Otolaryngol. 1970;91(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/archotol.1970.00770040185001

It is traditional and fitting that physicians share medical experiences through scientific writing. Unfortunately, throughout their professional development, science is emphasized almost to the exclusion of the humanities and literature. Later on, as practitioners, demands upon their knowledge and services leave little time for them to cultivate literary talents. Consequently, many physicians are unaware of the satisfaction derived from scientific communication through writing. To be enjoyed, however, writing must not be treated as a chore or with disdain.

Although at first most physicians probably approach the task of manuscript preparation with some dismay, there is no justification for this reaction because a few easily applied general principles usually result in effective self-expression. The first principle is that an author must define the subject. Then he should peruse the medical literature to determine what has been published previously on the subject and how his experiences relate to that information. At this

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