Can blogging boost the rate of progress in medicine?

Can blogging boost the rate of progress in medicine?

The open access Public Library of Science and the collaborative Myelin Repair Foundation and Forum for Collaborative HIV Research are examples of innovative ways to unclog the flow of high quality information and thereby speed up innovation in medical research. I’ve written about these examples here, here, and here.

SimulConsult CEO Mickey Segal, MD, PhD suggested to me that blogs could also serve such a function by providing a platform for floating hypotheses that could form the basis for clinical studies. Seems like a good idea to me.

Here’s the first such idea (also from Mickey). Let’s see if anyone picks it up:

A few times in the past year I’ve eaten meats or baked goods that turned out to have a lot of salt in them. Since I usually don’t have much salt, the events are noticeable. Not surprisingly I get a taste of salt in my mouth, but interestingly I get a huge craving for sweet things.

I’m wondering if such an effect occurs chronically in people who eat a much higher salt diet than I do. The prediction would be that people with higher salt consumption would have a higher consumption of free sugars and therefore have other consequences such as obesity and dental problems.

One could imagine that the high amount of salt in ready-to-eat foods is one of the factors underlying the high rate of obesity.

March 6, 2006

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