Are you intimidated by reading a medical research article? Do you start reading, get to a number you don’t understand, and then put an article down? Or maybe can you get an idea of what an article is talking about, but don’t get certain sections sometimes? If you can answer yes to any of the above then this series is for you, for us.

This podcast series is a special one. It’s interactive. You download the full text version of this study on Niacin (the full text is free). While you read the study, Dr. Joshua Goldenberg, ND answers my questions – lots of them, enough to fill two podcasts. We go section by section figuring out what each thing means, and what to look for. When it’s over you’re going to be better at reading medical literature. That was my goal when I came up with this idea for a podcast and I think we reached it.

If you’re wondering who Dr. Goldenberg is then I’ll start by telling you he’s the most qualified person in our profession to be doing this series on reading, interpreting, and evaluating the medical literature. He teaches the class at Bastyr called Critical Evaluation of the Medical Literature, he’s published a number of journal articles including a metanalysis for the Cochrane Review, he’s done research himself while a student, and he runs the website Dr. Journal Club. Whew. We’ve spoken before on naturopathy and evidenced based medicine and got his take on this debated topic.

A quick blurb about the Dr. Journal Club – Dr. Journal Club is a project he started where he reviews some of the most relevant pieces of research in short videos and for any clinician is worth checking out.

Like I said before, this is part 1 of this 2 part series on mastering the medical literature. In Part 1 we dive into the abstract. As questions came up for me (and where I think they would for you) we talked about them. This meant spending a lot of time in the abstract because they mention some statistical things like p value and confidence intervals there first. In part 2, which will be posted next week, we talk through the heart of the article. A lot of what we talk about in this podcast will help you read and interpret the rest of the article, so start with this podcast.

Things we talk about here in part 1 include:

  • If the abstract is enough
  • Why peer review is important
  • What a p value is
  • What confidence intervals are and what they mean
  • Hard outcomes – what they are and why they are important to you clinically

Look for more when part two of Mastering the Medical Literature – Niacin comes out next week.