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Unit 3. Other sources

Sources of pre-appraised evidence

A patient asks a clinician, "Does vitamin C prevent the common cold? Are there effective therapies to treat a cold once you have one?"
Although these questions are common, they are not always easy to answer. Medical knowledge is advancing rapidly, and the literature that reports new findings is expanding by almost half a million articles every year




In the past, a clinician might seek answers to these questions within a textbook. But textbooks are updated infrequently, only every 3-5 years. And a new, definitive study might be published in today's medical journals, but not appear in the most recent textbooks.
The clinician might call an infectious disease specialist. But specialists are very busy, and may not have time to answer such questions.
The clinician might perform a traditional search in a medical database, such as PubMed. Unfortunately, a search using the MeSH term "common cold" yields over 1,400 articles written in the last 30 years. Finding a relevant article might take as long as 30 minutes or more.




3.1 “Raw” and “cooked” evidence resources

Over the last years, many practical resources have been created to facilitate ready access to high-quality research information. A lot of these resources are regularly updated and have undergone a systematic filtering process to include only those studies with the highest quality. We call these resources “pre-appraised” (cooked).

 


 

Reflection

If you have less than 15 minutes to prepare dinner, do you prefer to spend hours cooking by yourself or have a “pre-cooked” meal?