It is to promote critical appraisal of research as widely as possible that I have attempted to broaden the review posts to include general readers. Demystifying research for as many as possible allows more readers to interpret its findings in a meaningful way and promotes a dampening of the internet- and media-fueled wild fluctuations in opinion between extremes. Too often, when a subject becomes topical in this way, we see an unhelpful polarizing of views into different camps. In contrast, experienced “jobbing” clinicians and their patients are often better served when the clinician takes the latest “message” with a fair degree of cynicism and prefers a more moderate, less frequently changing and usually more appropriate outlook. It is hoped that by outlining the historical background to a piece of research, presenting both sides of an argument and showing how the researchers’ conclusions were drawn, patients and other interested parties will be better able to judge these messages for themselves.
To help general readers, the journal club review posts will include lay summaries and I will add accompanying posts that act as “primers” to provide a general background overview on the medical condition being discussed.