A REVIEW AND UPDATE
With Medline (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi ), you can access abstracts of millions of medical papers, online, instantly and at no charge. Over half a million individual citations are added each year. The public loves Medline; nearly two million people use it every day. Medline is like a "Google" search engine for medical publications. This excellent, free service is brought to you by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Library of Medicine. In other words, by tax dollars. Generally it is money well spent, until you go searching for megavitamin therapy research papers. Then you will find that you can't find all of them. That is because of selective indexing.
While most medical journals are listed and accessible, the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, now read in nearly 40 countries, is not. (http://www.orthomed.org/jom/jomlist.htm )
What are the consequences of such exclusion? In a nutshell, it prevents the public from using their computers to learn about all of the scientific research and clinical reports demonstrating the effectiveness of megavitamin (orthomolecular) therapy. It also greatly hampers professionals from seeing pro-vitamin studies. Have you ever wondered why so many doctors simply do not know about vitamin therapy? Well, wonder no longer.
LET'S LOOK AT THE SCORE
Exactly how is the decision made as to which studies people may or may not see?
I have in front of me the actual judging scoresheets for the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine's previous appraisals by the National Library of Medicine's Medline "Literature Selection Technical Review Committee." The Journal was previously reviewed in 1989, 1993, 2000 and again in 2002. Medline uses a point scale of zero to 5, with five being the highest recommendation for indexing, and zero being the lowest.
On February 2, 1989, the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine received a 0.0 rating.
On March 4, 1993, the Journal again received a 0.0 score. This, by the way, was after JOM had published no fewer than six papers by Linus Pauling.
One cannot escape the significance of these 1989 and 1993 National Library of Medicine reviews that found ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE WHATSOEVER to the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. After all, "0.0" is not merely a low mark. "0.0" represents an absolute dearth of merit. And "zero point zero" states it so flatly as to leave no room for alternate interpretations.
On June 8, 2000, JOM received a 1.5 rating. Out of five, not nearly high enough to qualify for indexing.
By then, the Journal had been published for 30 consecutive years.
The review of June 6, 2002 brought JOM a rating of 1. Out of five.
THE OCTOBER 2004 REVIEW
We now have the results of NLM's latest (October 2004) review of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
In this most recent evaluation, Medline's review committee specifically indicated that the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine had "little importance to researchers"; "little importance to educators"; "little importance to students" and "no importance to administrators"; "no importance to policy makers"; and "no importance to allied health professionals."
JOM, therefore, received a "2" out of five, the best score yet.
In a letter dated 11 January 2005 from Medline executive editor Sheldon Kotzin, whose full title is Chief, Bibliographic Services Division, National Library of Medicine, Mr. Kotzin states:
"The Committee recently met and reviewed a number of journal titles including the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. The indexing priority assigned to the journal by the Committee was not high enough for the title to be indexed by the Library at this time."
Interestingly, Mr. Kotzin's very next sentence was,
"Please CANCEL any complimentary subscription being sent to my office." The emphasis was his own.
In one email to a Doctor Yourself Newsletter reader, Mr. Kotzin wrote: "No one would argue against a well-informed user; however, human and budgetary resources will not allow us to index every one of the 22,000 journals to which we subscribe."
Taking the sum of all evidence, I believe that statement is neither fair nor accurate.
On-line indexing and availability are all the more important now that, after 125 years of publication, the NLM's Index Medicus is no longer available in print. Electronic, on-line Medline has taken over.
And 38 years of nutrition research is missing from it.
Perhaps all this is not surprising. Medline has steadfastly refused to index the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine for almost four decades. Let it now be said: The emperor has no clothes. The National Library of Medicine/Medline is biased.
(Excerpted with permission from Saul AW. Medline bias. [Editorial] J Orthomolecular Med. 2005, 20:1, p 10-16.)
HOW YOU CAN HELP BRING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGE
by Richard Putman
Chances are when you've read some compelling information in The Doctor Yourself Newsletter, you've thought, "Some people in a position to DO something should know about this." In this article I'll describe how you can have such an impact. Because I live in the USA, that will be the orientation of my suggestions. But there are likely similar options available in some other countries.
FEDERAL ROAD BLOCKS
Often what is blocking the adoption of safer, cheaper, holistic approaches to health are federal policies and/or regulations. There is a convenient way for you to contact people who represent you in Washington DC. Visit http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ If the first thing you see is an overlay ad, just click the X box in the upper right corner to close the ad. Because I've been registered for so long, I don't recall at which point visitors are asked to register. Registering makes your future visits super efficient. I've been registered for years and have experienced NO adverse experiences (such as spam) as a result.
Type in your zip code and click GO. On the next page, click on "Compose Your Own Message". This takes you to a page that has check boxes for you to indicate who you want your letter to go to and whether you want to send your message by e-mail or letter. E-mail is free; physical letters will cost you something, but will also stand out from the crowd of e-mails: your choice.
The page that you're now on is the page you should bookmark. You'll want to rename it to make easy to remember what it's about. [Right click the bookmark; select rename.] Note that this page is for your state only. I use this page often.
Next, choose a subject that summarizes what you're writing about. Ideally, it should be in the form of a clear-cut benefit. Example: How to slash health care costs. When it comes to the text of your letter, the FIRST thing to remember is that these people in Washington receive thousands of incoming letters, so be considerate of their time and be brief. First, write a very short personal introduction about why you think the subject is important. Then if it's an article that you're writing about, and the article is reasonably short, you could send the whole article. If the article is long, you might copy one or two key paragraphs from the article and provide a link to the complete article, so that the recipient can read it all if he/she wishes. It's important to remember to give credit to the sources you include in your letter.
"The Truth about the Drug Companies" by Marcia Angell, M.D., was recently reviewed in the Doctor Yourself Newsletter (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v5n8.txt ). I sent this review to my U.S. representative and the two U.S. senators, with a subject something like "An Answer to Rising Health Care Costs" and this preface:
"There's a lot of moaning and wringing of hands about the continually rising cost of "health care," a major portion of which is the cost of prescription drugs. Some ANSWERS to this dilemma are laid out in a book by the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, as described in the review below, written by Dr. Andrew W. Saul of http://www.doctoryourself.com.
The revelations in the book could form the basis for much needed reform spearheaded by any courageous federal legislator who realizes that, for the sake of integrity, things need to CHANGE."
Before selecting the SEND button, you'll be offered some related send options, each of which is described. You can read them and make your own choices.
The chances are very good that you'll get a generic "Thank you for writing" response from each person you send your letter to. But the important thing is that you stood up and you were heard. If we all do the same, the world will change . . . for the better.