Saturday, 21 July 2012

Book review: Between the Lines


The author, epidemiologist Marya Zilberberg from the USA, aims to improve the objective, rational interpretation of the medical literature. It targets consumers of medical care, but is also applicable to providers. Consequently, the book is deliberately pitched at a level that can be understood by non-medicos.


The book covers two sections: firstly an overview of problems with interpreting the medical literature and secondly, how to evaluate that literature.

In my opinion, there can never be enough books like this. There is a need to continuously promote the scientific, rational interpretation of, well, science. It is needed to counter the opposing forces of media hype and medical zealousness that often colour the interpretation of medical information.

The limitation of such a book is that it can only whet the appetite for such a subject. Realising this, the author has managed to keep the book short, and the message simple. In doing so, the message is clearly communicated. The message is that medical treatment always presents a balance of risk against benefit, and that you should take your time and look carefully and rationally at the evidence before arriving at a conclusion, rather than believing everything you hear.

Between the Lines: Finding the Truth in Medical Literature. M Zilberberg, EviMed Research Press, Goshen, Massachusetts, 2012.

Marya Zilberberg’s blog is Healthcare etc.

1 comment:

  1. The second part follows a more standard format for a book on the medical literature, moving logically through a traditional hierarchy of study designs and threats to the interpretation of study results. Zilberberg's writing is clear and straightforward, and key points are helpfully highlighted in accompanying figures and tables. I recommend this book highly to all students of evidence-based medicine, regardless of occupation or professional degree.

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