Let me re-state this: 80 percent of studies that are peer-reviewed and published are (or were), it seems, so utterly useless that no one ever cites them more than once.(In a follow-up study, estimates revealed that in the field of medicine, the percentage of papers without a single citation was about 46%; in the field of arts and humanities, an estimated 98% of papers go uncited.) OK, so let’s pause for a moment and regroup. The above observations lead to the inevitable conclusion that most (by volume) of the published work on Pub Med is barely fit to line the bottom of a bird cage.
First, when I read/hear “thought leaders” (who shall remain nameless) claim to read all of the literature out there, I have to call BS. (For the reader who gets all verklempt hearing that most published research is nonsense, it might be helpful to read this article on the chicanery in the modern scientific publishing world.) It’s not lost on us that a heavily cited paper can be worse than useless and a thinly-cited one can be invaluable.
A keen eye and good mental models can only get one so far.
The sheer volume of published work in the English language alone is staggering.
At last check, every month 98,197 new papers make their way onto Pub Med.
I mostly wrote about nutrition, but soon my interest in slightly more esoteric topics—such as lipidology—influenced what I wrote about.
Over the last few years competition for my time and energy have resulted in blogging being at the bottom of the priority list, somewhere just above watching reality TV (which I don’t watch) and just below rec league bocce ball (which I don’t play).
To really learn something requires contemplation and thinking—even as the reader—and over time this leads to new insights, which is one of the most rewarding experiences I have come to know.
It’s the reason why I get so excited when a patient asks me a question I don’t know the answer to.
While we may indeed do this in the future, the other takeaway from his comment was that it was time to re-organize the blog, create a few different types of posts, and most of all, get back to some regularity.
Bob Kaplan, our head analyst, is a really amazing guy, and not just because he’s done more pullups than pretty much any one on earth, though that helps.
(At a bodyweight of 185 pounds, Bob did a weighted pullup of 195 pounds [i.e., 195 pounds hanging from a chained waist-belt] …