Blogging vs Mainstream Media and Other Digressions.

I’m sad to announce that my life is getting pretty busy from now through the end of the month. I’ll still be posting pretty regularly. Howeveras the Hard Conversations posts require a lot more time to write, a good bit of research, and some time moderating or participating in discussion, I’ll be interspersing some other posts along the way.

As I’ve written elsewhere on this blog, part of my interest in blogging stems from the opportunity to respond to the mainstream media. In my meager experience, medical journalists in the mainstream media are journalists first, and vaguely medical second. The writing is often excellent – crisp, succinct, and well presented, far better than my admittedly amateurish style here. Sadly the science and medicine are often misstated, or distorted to have more shock value, or “pop”. I’d like to think that despite my stylistic demerits I make up some ground on accuracy.

Lately parts of the blogosphere have been a twitter with responses to a review of Openlab 2008 published by New Scientist. The general discussion is on the merits of the blogosphere vs the main stream media. Personally I think they both have their place.

It’s far too easy to use the blogosphere to confirm all of your own viewpoints rather than learn anything – something we’ve seen quite regularly in the comments on this blog! I think of the blogosphere as a whole as a supplement to the mainstream media, rather than it’s replacement.

In roughly that vein, today I’d like to direct your attention to an interesting post at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Ed Yong has a great perspective on this, since he writes both in the mainstream media and on his blog. I think he presents a balanced, accurate, and succinct view on the subject.

For now, enjoy!

-Whitecoat Tales

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2 Comments on “Blogging vs Mainstream Media and Other Digressions.”

  1. JLK Says:

    Hey Whitecoat, I have a question for you. What do you know about this seemingly new trend of putting people in their 40’s on prescription vitamin D in order to prevent dementia in later age? It seems weird to me to do that rather than say “Drink more milk and eat more yogurt.”

    • I’m not too familiar with this one.

      Short story: I’m not sure if there is evidence even showing vitamin D helps prevent dementia, unless you have a known vitamin D deficiency. Yogurt+milk is totally acceptable, and OTC vitamins are available so prescription vitamin D seems over the top. Caveat: I don’t have journal access right now and this is not my area of expertise. I will research and post on this soon!

      I’ve seen a little evidence here and there linking vitamin D to cognitive function, and a few people have tried to link it to dementia. This is hardly normal practice.
      Not that taking vitamin D is bad. Vitamin D supplementaiton is great, and well proven for osteoporosis – I just haven’t heard a ton about dementia.

      As for prescription vitamin D, I’m not sure thats justified unless a patient really fails to hold to a dietary intervention first – and there are over the counter vitamin D + calcium supplements that are probably cheaper.

      Some of this is a matter of personal practice though – if a patient has failed to hold to a diet to lose weight, or lower their blood pressure, they’re probably justified going straight to supplementation.

      Now, I haven’t had a chance to research this one yet, and I’m without journal-access right now. So I’ll withhold final judgement on the subject.

      I’ll try to write up a full post on this one in more detail after the weekend. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

      Why after the weekend instead of today? Starting right now, I’m taking the weekend off to spend time with family and friends, I’ll be off of the internet til monday!

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