Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
August 5, 2016
Let me take you way back in time. It was 1962 when I was in junior high school and needed to do research for a school project. My initial resource was to go to my local library and search the Encyclopedia Britannica. I then had to go to the Card Catalogue at the library for specific book references.
I remember going to the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland to do my extensive search. Once I found the references I needed in the Card Catalogue, I had to search the Library Stacks to find those specific books. Of course, the printed books were at least a couple of years old. However, the library had current scientific journals with more relevant and current information – still at least several months old.
All this effort took at least a couple of days out of my life. Unfortunately, if any of these books or journals were already checked out by other students, I had to wait for these references to be returned to the stacks. Then, there was the time to read everything and take notes. (The Xerox copy machine became commercially available in 1959 but was expensive to use.)
Fast forward to today. Now, there is the Internet. A few clicks on the keyboard and you are up to date with everything that is published in the world – at least almost everything. Download what you need, and you’re good to go.
My go-to source for current, accurate, and peer-reviewed medical information on the Internet is PubMed.gov. All published medical research from all over the world is referenced on this website. Fortunately, there is no commercial advertising on this site, but it is highly technical.
For example, if you searched for medical topics on Google, you could get millions of results. Some would be technical; some would not. Others would be science-based, and some would not. You could be misled and even exploited. I have done searches in this way and occasionally have been exploited. This is where some experts sometimes become predators.
I have found that many authors write articles and post blogs with apparently worthy and pertinent information. That’s great, especially if the facts are linked to peer-reviewed research. However, I’ve noticed a tendency for some authors to disguise their sales pitches.
There is nothing wrong with the entrepreneurial spirit. What is wrong in my opinion is when authors use selected and distorted facts to hype their products and services, which you did not see coming.
Now, I am becoming disillusioned. Some of my favorite medical and nutrition writers have turned the corner and are now promoting fee-based programs, nutritional supplements, and other people’s businesses. Once again, there is nothing wrong with sales if their intentions were up front and not hidden at the end of the article or, even worse, embedded in advertising links within the article itself.
I always must question the facts I read. I must be cautious. But now, I need to determine if there is an ulterior motive? I know that there are sharks out there who would like to take advantage of you and me. Of course, that only means that I must be more discriminating between whom I read and whom I believe. I still fall back on my reliable Internet source, which is PubMed.gov. I know I will never go back to the days of doing research in my local library.