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What is this WHAT DOCTORS DON’T TELL YOU title?

Mark Fletcher
August 5th, 2019 · 1 Comment

I noticed WHAT DOCTORS DON’T TELL YOU on the shelves of a shop this week. Having never seen the title before, I took a look. I found it hard to believe the veracity of claims I saw in a quick scan of articles. It feels like this title is targeted at people drawn to pseudo-medicine / quackery.

What is pitched as a launch issue is an Aussie version of a UK title that has been around for years. Checking online, I can find references as far back as 2012.

There is controversy about this magazine. Dr Margaret McCartney published comments  in October 2012 including:

Although medical journals carry advertisements for drugs, the ones in this magazine are an extraordinary shrine to non-evidenced based medicine. …

It is right to criticise medicine, but the same standards must be applied to all interventions, “alternative” or not. We now realise how important it is to ensure that fair evidence, free of bias, is used in making medical decisions. There is no point in substituting bad medicine for bad science, and it is not clear from this magazine where the hierarchies of evidence stand, and the limitations and uncertainties that arise in research are not consistently explained. The magazine’s liability statement—“the publishers cannot accept any responsibility for any damage or harm caused by any treatment, advice or information contained in this publication”—should perhaps be better printed on the cover, in an unmissable font.”

This article by Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA, at the ProQuest blog from 2017, is fascinating:

Looking into the background of WDDTY I saw it was originally launched as an alternative medicine magazine in the UK, in 2012 with a number of cautionary reviews from medical and health publications, such as the British Medical Journal, Health News Review, and the Science and Skepticism section of The Guardian. WDDTY is published monthly and contains advertisements from the holistic and alternative medicine market. The WDDTY Editorial Panel is comprised of “some of the world’s leading pioneers in nutritional, environmental and alternative medicine.” But another source writes about The Editorial Panel, “Of those who can be found on the GMC List of Registered Medical Practitioners, one has been issued with a warning, one has relinquished his registration, and all of them advocate dubious interventions, some of which have been shown to do more harm than good.”

I checked out What doctors don’t tell you because it looked dodgy. Checking online, plenty think that.

While we are not censors, it is useful to know about titles available for our shelves, so our stocking decisions can be informed.

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Category: Ethics · magazines · Social responsibility

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