Medical writing can be overwhelming, but there are some tried-and-true techniques and creative tips that can dramatically simplify the process.

We mined the literature for strategies plus revealed some tricks from our seasoned writers to help you get your manuscript written and published.

In this document we focused our attention on manuscripts since they are one of the most common types of medical writing. However, these are techniques that can be useful for any medical writing projects.

What is good medical writing?

When you’re writing for a scientific audience it’s important to write with three C’s in mind:

  • Clear: Don’t be ambiguous or leave anything to the imagination.
  • Concise: Use brief, simple language and avoid repetition/redundancy.
  • Correct: Be accurate, and don’t overstate the significance of your results.

Good medical writing is never more complicated than it needs to be.

Make it easy for your audience by keeping your language clear and simple.

Clear and Simple Language Makes it Easy For The Reader

How is medical writing different?

Many people want to know how medical writing is different from other types of writing. The answer is simple: it isn’t.

Good writing has a goal and a target audience and they will influence how you write, regardless of what you’re writing. A good manuscript is rooted in a good story.

Even data-driven medical texts can be delivered in an engaging way. Most of us can think of examples of stand-out papers in our field of expertise.

At their best these papers are entertaining and thought-provoking even while they deliver complicated, data-heavy material.

Make an Outline for your Manuscript

Before you start writing you need to have a clear understanding of the type and scope of your writing.

For example, consider exactly what you are writing. Is it a case study, textbook chapter, or a literature review? These distinctions have important implications for how you craft and present your material.

An outline should be an obvious place to start, but you’d be surprised at how often this step is skipped.

How to structure your medial manuscript outline

When possible, before you start your outline you should understand the formatting requirements for your targeted publisher.

Many publishers specify abstract headings and have specific requirements for what can (and can’t) be included in the body of your text.

Use the outline as a way to narrow down the research you’ll need to do as you write.

Abstract

It is an unfortunate fact of life: the abstract is often the only portion of a paper that ever gets read. For this reason your abstract needs to convey the most important points from your paper in 300 words or less. Note what these points are in your abstract.

Make sure you know what your publisher expects from your abstract. Some journals limit you to 150 words, or require that you arrange your abstract using specific headers.

You may need to include an objective or a statement of impact as well.

Keywords

Most publishers ask authors to provide some keywords. Think about the keywords you’d use to search for your paper and write them down.

Keywords that are more general will increase the number of search results your paper will appear in. For example, use “spinal cord stimulation” instead of “neuromodulation.”

Define your goal

Is your goal to present new research data or to provide a meta-analysis of existing data? By clarifying the goal of your manuscript you can streamline preparation and writing.

Having a well-defined goal will also help you find the most appropriate publisher.

Keep your target audience in mind as you define your goal.

Introduction/background

The outline for your intro should note the current state of the field and identify knowledge gaps.

A good way to understand how to arrange your intro is by looking at similar papers that have been published by your target journal.

A standard approach to an intro can be broken down as follows:

  • First paragraph:
    Current knowledge and foundational referencesYou’re paving the way for your readers to understand your objective
  • Second paragraph:
    Introduce your specific topic and identify knowledge gaps
  • Third paragraph:
    Clearly identify your aim

Key references and identifying your hypothesis and aim(s).

Methods
Briefly list your methods and timeframe, but don’t get too detailed. This is just an outline.

Results
The results section can be the most challenging to organize.

To simplify the writing process, state your overall question and create subsections for each dataset.

List the experiments you did and your results.

In your outline, identify data that should be presented in a figure or table.
Save any subjective interpretations for the discussion section.

Discussion
Your outline for the discussion should pick up where the introduction left off.

For example, if your intro ends with an aim, your discussion should start by restating your aim and reminding your readers of the knowledge gap(s) that you are addressing.

Your discussion needs to address each set of experiments and your interpretation, but don’t simply restate your results section.

Timeline
Make a timeline for your manuscript and specify a submission date to help keep you on track.

Questions to consider when making your discussion outline include:

  • How do your data relate to your original question?
  • Do they support your hypothesis?
  • Are your results consistent with what other researchers have found?
  • If you had unexpected results, is there an explanation for them?
  • Can your data be interpreted in another way
    • Consider your data from the perspective of a competitor. Can you punch holes in your argument?
    • Address potential concerns about your data head on. Don’t try to hide them or gloss over them.
  • If you weren’t able to fully address your question(s) or aim(s), what else do you need to do?
  • How do your data fit into the big picture?

Include a discussion subsection for each of your results subsections where you can subjectively interpret your data. Your outline should include the points you want to make in each subsection as well as your overall goal.

Conclude your discussion with a one sentence summary of your conclusion and its relevance to the field.

Again, don’t forget to write to your target audience!

Additional Resources for Medical Writing

Templates for Building a Perfect Writing Plan:

Know the Literature Before You Write Anything

An effective medical or scientific manuscript provides compelling information that builds on the existing literature and advances what is currently known.

This means you need to have a thorough understanding of the relevant literature!

Your goal is to collect all relevant references into a structured document. Make note of the aim and conclusion of each reference. Use this as a foundation to refer back to when you’re writing your paper.

Organize your research into buckets.

When you find a relevant source, ask yourself:

  • Are the data consistent with what’s already known?
  • If not: why are they different and how do they affect what’s known?
  • Do your data support or refute the data presented in the source?
  • You’ll need to explicitly address inconsistencies and identify potential resolutions.

Find Scholarly Sources

If you are writing an original research article, how do your data fit into the broader topic?

Google searches don’t usually produce scholarly resources unless you know where to look.

There are numerous FREE and Paid online resources available to find the right sources.

Top Scholarly Databases for journals, news, and articles

These tools can be used to find all the reputable sources needed to flesh out quality medical writing.

PubMed (MEDLINE):

PUBMED is an extremely popular and free search engine hosted by the NIH (National institutes of Health and U.S. National Library of Medicine. It can be used to access a vast index of peer-reviewed biological and medical research.

EMBASE:

EMBASE is a database of literature intended to aid in organizational adherence to prescription drug regulations. Whereas it does contain some references that are not returned by PUBMED, there is a subscription fee associated with EMBASE.

Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a curated database of medical research reviews, protocols, and editorials. While a subscription is required, the Cochrane is a critical resource for evidence-based medicine.

Web of Science

The Web of Science is another subscription service similar to those that have already been mentioned, albeit with an expanded range of academic disciplines including the arts, social sciences, and others.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar leverages Google’s powerful search engine to retrieve published literature from the whole internet (rather than just biomedical journals). This means you’ll get textbooks, theses, conference proceedings, and other publications that won’t show up in PubMed or EMBASE searches. Google Scholar is a powerful tool but it lacks the curation of other search tools, so a careful vetting of any information from this source is important.

Other databases:

F1000:

Faculty of 1000 (F1000) offers Faculty Opinions and F1000Research. Faculty Opinions are links to recommended life-science articles, while F1000Research is a database of open-source research papers and results.

EBSCO:

EBSCO is an online library providing a wide range of services, including its research databases that allow powerful searches of journals in a variety of academic disciplines.

iSEEK Education:

iSeek Education is a search engine geared specifically for academics. The resources from iSeek are meant to be dependable and from reliable sources, such as government agencies and universities.

RefSeek:

RefSeek is another popular option for academically oriented search engines. RefSeek is designed to pull results from a large number of sources but not commercial links. 

Virtual LRC:

The Virtual Learning Resources Center is a modified Google search of academic information websites. Its index of websites has been chosen by qualified curators.

More journal databases for medical research

Organize Your References:

One other point on knowing the literature: find a strategy that helps you keep references organized. 

If you’ve ever written a paper and couldn’t remember where on earth you saw that one, perfect reference you know how important this is! 

Rather than putting things into a long word document start with a research template.

RESOURCE: Use our FREE research template to collect sources for your manuscript

You can also download free basic software to organize references.

5 Reference Organization Tools and Software

EndNote

EndNote is the most popular reference organization tool for medical writers. 

A basic version of EndNote is available for free, but paid subscriptions offer more options.

Source: EndNote

EndNote features include:

  • Import, annotate, and search PDFs
  • Ability to store reference libraries online, so you can access them from anywhere
  • Collaboration is easy with shared libraries
  • EndNote provides the most comprehensive citation style database, or you can create custom citation styles
  • Easy to import/export references from databases using RIS, BibTex, and many other standard data schemes 

One potential drawback of EndNote is that it’s not compatible with Linux.

Zotero
Zotero is a free, open-source reference management and citation tool. 

Features of Zotero include:

  • Import, annotate, and search PDFs
  • Save screenshots and annotate them within your citation library
  • Import and export references in many formats, including RIS, BibTeX and BibLateX, EndNote, RefWorks, and more
  • Supports over 30 languages
  • Zotero’s online bibliography tool ZoteroBib lets you generate bibliographies without installing Zotero or creating an account
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Linux compatible
(Image from Wikipedia)

Mendeley
Mendeley is Elsevier’s “freemium” referencing software, meaning the basic package is available for free but more sophisticated versions require a paid subscription. 

Features of Mendeley include:

  • Import, annotate, and search PDFs
  • Extract metadata from PDFs
  • Create private, shareable libraries
  • Linux compatible
(Image from Wikipedia)

Citefast

A free online reference tool, Citefast allows users to quickly generate a library in APA 6 or 7, MLA 7 or 8, or Chicago styles. 

Citefast doesn’t require you to make an account, but if you don’t create one your references will be lost after 4 days of inactivity.

BibMe

Another free online resource, BibMe lets you import references and offers MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting styles.

BibMe can also check your spelling and grammar, as well as look for plagiarism.

List of MORE Online Software Tools for Academic and Medical Research

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5 best tools for academic research

31 Best Online Tools for Research

10 great tools for online research

Know your audience

It’s important to know your audience before you start writing. This will help you define your goals and create an outline.  

For example, if you’re preparing a case study for specialists your manuscript will be different than one for a multidisciplinary audience. 

Ask yourself what your message is and find out how it aligns with the goals of your readers to maximize your paper’s impact.

Formatting requirements

Whenever possible, find out the formatting requirements you’ll need to follow before you start writing. They will explicitly state the layout, word limits, figure/table formatting, use of abbreviations, and which reference style to use.

If you’re writing for a journal their website will have a Guide for Authors that specifies formatting. If you’re not sure what the requirements are, you should contact the editor or publisher and ask them. 

Types of medical manuscripts

Knowing what kind of manuscript you’re writing will help you organize your material and identify which information you should present. In addition, many publishers have different formatting requirements for different types of articles.

Although each publisher has their own guidelines for authors, many journals encourage authors to follow reporting guidelines from the EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research). 

Original research

The goal of an original research article is to convey your research findings to an audience. These articles typically follow the same structure:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction 
  • Methods & Materials
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

Examples of great original medical research manuscripts:

  1. Nowacki J, Wingenfeld K, Kaczmarczyk M, et al. Steroid hormone secretion after stimulation of mineralocorticoid and NMDA receptors and cardiovascular risk in patients with depression. Transl Psychiatry. 2020 Apr 20;10(1):109.
  2. Pfitzer A, Maly C, Tappis H, et al. Characteristics of successful integrated family planning and maternal and child health services: Findings from a mixed-method, descriptive evaluation. F1000Res. 2019 Feb 28;8:229. 
  3. Yi X, Liu M, Luo Q, et al. Toxic effects of dimethyl sulfoxide on red blood cells, platelets, and vascular endothelial cells in vitro. FEBS Open Bio. 2017 Feb 20;7(4):485-494. 
  4. Karsan N, Goadsby PJ. Imaging the Premonitory Phase of Migraine. Front Neurol. 2020 Mar 25;11:140. 
  5. Chan SS, Chappel AR, Maddox KEJ, et al. Pre-exposure prophylaxis for preventing acquisition of HIV: A cross-sectional study of patients, prescribers, uptake, and spending in the United States, 2015-2016. PLoS Med. 2020 Apr 10;17(4):e1003072.

Examples of great medical journal publications from The Med Writers:

Rapid communications

Rapid (or brief) communications are aimed at publishing highly impactful preliminary findings. 

They are shorter than original research articles and focus on one specific result. 

Many journals prioritize rapid communications, since they can provide paradigm-shifts in how we understand a particular topic.

5 Examples of Rapid Communications

  1. Rose D, Ashwood P. Plasma Interleukin-35 in Children with Autism. Brain Sci. 2019 Jun 27;9(7).
  2. Nash K, Johansson A, Yogeeswaran K. Social Media Approval Reduces Emotional Arousal for People High in Narcissism: Electrophysiological Evidence. Front Hum Neurosci. 2019 Sep 20;13:292.
  3. Su Q, Bouteau A, Cardenas J, et al. Long-term absence of Langerhans cells alters the gene expression profile of keratinocytes and dendritic epidermal T cells. PLoS One. 2020 Jan 10;15(1):e0223397.
  4. Nilsson I, Palmer J, Apostolou E, et al. Metabolic Dysfunction in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Not Due to Anti-mitochondrial Antibodies. Front Med. 2020 Mar 31;7:108.
  5. Rabiei S, Sedaghat F, Rastmanesh R. Is the hedonic hunger score associated with obesity in women? A brief communication. BMC Res Notes. 2019 Jun 10;12(1):330. 

Case reports

Case reports detail interesting clinical cases that provide new insight into an area of research. 

These are brief reports that chronicle a case, from initial presentation to prognosis (if known). 

Importantly, when writing a case report, you need to clearly identify what makes your case unique and why it’s important.

5 Examples of Great Case Studies

  1. Scoles D, Ammar MJ, Carroll SE, et al. Cytomegalovirus retinitis in an immunocompetent host after complicated cataract surgery. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2020 Apr 6;18:100702.
  2. Yanagimoto Y, Ishizaki Y, Kaneko K. Iron deficiency anemia, stunted growth, and developmental delay due to avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder by restricted eating in autism spectrum disorder. Biopsychosoc Med. 2020 Apr 10;14:8.
  3. Pringle S, van der Vegt B, Wang X, et al. Lack of Conventional Acinar Cells in Parotid Salivary Gland of Patient Taking an Anti-PD-L1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor. Front Oncol. 2020 Apr 2;10:420.
  4. Crivelli P, Ledda RE, Carboni M, et al. Erdheim-Chester disease presenting with cough, abdominal pain, and headache. Radiol Case Rep. 2020 Apr 10;15(6):745-748.
  5. Tsai AL, Agustines D. The Coexistence of Oculocutaneous Albinism with Schizophrenia. Cureus. 2020 Jan 9;12(1):e6617.

Literature review

A good literature review provides a comprehensive overview of current literature in a new way. There are four basic types of literature review:

Traditional:
Also known as narrative reviews, these reviews deliver a thorough synopsis of a body of literature. They may be used to highlight unanswered questions or knowledge gaps.

Li X, Geng M, Peng Y, Meng L, Lu S. Molecular immune pathogenesis and diagnosis of COVID-19. J Pharm Anal. 2020 Mar 5. 

Wardhan R, Kantamneni S. The Challenges of Ultrasound-guided Thoracic Paravertebral Blocks in Rib Fracture Patients. Cureus. 2020 Apr 10;12(4):e7626.

Lakhan, S.E., Vieira, K.F. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutr J 7, 2 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-7-2

A minireview is similar to a review, but confines itself to a specific subtopic:

Marra A, Viale G, Curigliano G. Recent advances in triple negative breast cancer: the immunotherapy era. BMC Med. 2019 May 9;17(1):90.

 Systematic:
These are rigorous, highly structured reviews that are often used to shed light on a specific research question. They are often combined with a meta-analysis or meta-synthesis. 

Asadi-Pooya AA, Simani L. Central nervous system manifestations of COVID-19: A systematic review. J Neurol Sci. 2020 Apr 11;413:116832.

Katsanos K, Spiliopoulos S, Kitrou P, Krokidis M, Karnabatidis D. Risk of Death Following Application of Paclitaxel-Coated Balloons and Stents in the Femoropopliteal Artery of the Leg: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Dec 18;7(24):e011245.

Meta-analysis:
A meta-analysis analyzes data from multiple published studies using a standardized statistical approach. These reviews can help identify trends, patterns, and new conclusions.

Zhang J, Zhang X, Meng Y, Chen Y. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound for the differential diagnosis of thyroid nodules: An updated meta-analysis with comprehensive heterogeneity analysis. PLoS One. 2020 Apr 20;15(4):e0231775.  

 Meta-synthesis: A meta-synthesis is a qualitative (non-statistical) way to evaluate and analyze findings from several published studies.

Stuart R, Akther SF, Machin K, et al. Carers’ experiences of involuntary admission under mental health legislation: systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis. BJPsych Open. 2020 Feb 11;6(2):e19. 

Writing

At this point you’ve established three things for your manuscript:

  1. Your goal: Is your goal to convey the latest research? You should find a way to describe what you want to accomplish with this article. 
  2. Your target audience: The most effective articles are written with a specific audience in mind. 
  3. Type of manuscript: The type of article you’re writing will influence the format of the document you are writing.

You probably have a target journal or publisher in mind and you should have checked out their formatting requirements. Now it’s time to start writing!

Notably, many seasoned authors don’t write their articles from beginning to end. For example, if you’re preparing an original research manuscript they suggest writing the methods section first, followed by the results, discussion, introduction, and, lastly, the abstract. This will help you stay within the scope of the article.

Title

Generally, the title for a medical document should be as succinct as possible while conveying the purpose of the article. 

If you’re writing an original research article your title should convey your main finding as simply as possible. 

Avoid using unnecessary jargon and ambiguity.

Some authors recommend including keywords that will help people find your writing in the title.

Abstract

Your publisher may have a specific abstract format for you to follow. There are three general types of abstract:

  • Indicative (descriptive) abstracts provide a clear overview of the topics covered. They are common in review articles and conference reports.
  • Informative abstracts summarize the article based on structure (e.g. problem, methods, case studies/results, conclusions) but without headings.
  • Structured abstracts use headings as specified by the publisher.

Good abstracts are clear, honest, brief, and specific. They also need to hook readers or your article will never be read (no pressure!).

Keywords

Many publishers will ask you to come up with some keywords for your article. Make sure they’re specific and clearly represent the topic of your article. 

If you’re not sure about your keywords the National Library of Medicine’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) website can help. Just type in a term and it will bring up associated subject headings and definitions.

Introduction

The goal of the introduction is to briefly provide context for your work and convince readers that it’s important. It is not a history lesson or a place to wax poetic about your love of medicine (unless you’re writing about history or your love of medicine). Everything in your introduction needs to be directly relevant to the overall goal of your manuscript.

Introductions vary in length and style between the different types of manuscript. The best way to understand what your publisher is looking for in an introduction is to read several examples from articles that are stylistically similar to yours.

Broadly speaking, an introduction needs to clearly identify the topic and the scope of the article. For an original research article this means you explicitly state the question you’re addressing and your proposed solution. For a literature review, the topic and its parameters should be stated.

Importantly, don’t mix the introduction with other sections. Methods and results don’t belong in the introduction.

Abbreviations

If you use terms that are abbreviated, some journals will ask you to include a section after the introduction where you define them. Consult the authors guide to learn how you should handle abbreviations. Also check to see if they have standard abbreviations that you don’t need to define in your manuscript.

A couple of tips for abbreviations:

·        Terms that are only used once or twice should be spelled out, not abbreviated

·        Don’t capitalize each word in an acronym unless it’s a proper noun (e.g. ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), not Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS))

Methods & Materials

A good methods section will contain enough information that another researcher could reproduce the work. Clearly state your experimental design, what you did in chronological order, including equipment model numbers and specific settings you used. Make sure to include all equipment, materials, and products you used as they could account for future variability. Describe any statistical analyses.

The methods section should describe the following:

·        Population and sampling methods

·        Equipment and materials

·        Procedures

·        Time frame (if relevant)

·        Analysis plan

·        Approaches to ensure reliability/validity

·        Any assumptions you used

·        Scope and limitations

If you are using methods that have been described before you can refer to that publication or include them in your supplementary material, rather than re-writing them in the body of your text.

Results

The results section is where your findings are objectively presented (save your interpretation of the results for the discussion section). Figure out which data are important for your story before you write the results section. For each important data set provide the results (preferably in a table or graph) and include a sentence or two that summarizes the results.

It’s easy to lose sight of the goal of the paper when you’re relaying numbers through the lens of statistics. Make sure to tie your results back to the biological aspects of your paper.

Discussion

The discussion section is where you sell your interpretation of the data. Your discussion section needs to tie your introduction and your results sections together. A common strategy for the discussion section is to reiterate your main findings in light of the knowledge gaps you outlined in your introduction. How do your findings move the field forward?

Consider each of your results with respect to your original question and hypothesis. If there are multiple ways to interpret your data, discuss each of them. If your findings were not in line with your hypothesis, state this and provide possible explanations.

If your data are inconsistent with other published literature it’s important to consider technical and experimental differences before concluding that you’ve stumbled onto a groundbreaking medical discovery. Discuss all potential reasons for the divergent data.

Key points to include in your discussion section:

·        What your results mean

·        Whether your methods were successful

·        How findings relate to other studies

·        Limitations of your study

·        How your work advances the field

·        Applications

·        Future directions

Don’t draw grand conclusions that aren’t supported by your data; some speculating is okay but don’t exaggerate the importance of your findings.

It’s important to remind your reader of your overall question and hypothesis throughout the discussion section, while you are providing your interpretation of the results. This will ensure that you stay on track while you’re writing and that your readers will understand exactly how your findings are relevant.

Conclusion

This is your final chance to convince your readers that your work is important. 

Start your conclusion by restating your question and identify whether your findings support (or fail to support) your hypothesis. 

Summarize your findings and discuss whether they agree with those of other researchers. 

Finally, identify how your data advances the field and propose new or expanded ways of thinking about the question.

It’s important to avoid making unsupported claims or over-emphasize the impact of your findings. Even if you think your findings will revolutionize medicine as we know it, refrain from making that claim until you have the evidence to back it up.

Figures/Tables

Many readers will get the bulk of their information from your figures so make sure they are clear and informative. Your readers should be able to identify your key findings from figures alone.

Tips for figures and tables:

·        Don’t repeat data in tables, figures and in the text

·        Captions should sufficiently describe the figure so the reader could understand it even if the figure was absent

·        Keep graphs simple! If a basic table will work there’s no need for a multi-colored graph

Acknowledgements

Use the acknowledgements section to identify people who made your manuscript possible. Include advisors, proofreaders, and financial backers. In addition, identify funding sources including grant or reference numbers.

References

Make sure to use the reference style specified by your target journal or publisher. Avoid too many references, redundant references, excessive self-referencing, and referencing for the sake of referencing. Personal communications, unpublished observations, and submitted, unaccepted manuscripts should generally be avoided.

Ethics

It should go without saying that you need to be ethical when preparing medical manuscripts. Fabricating or falsifying data is never acceptable, and you put your career at risk. It’s not worth it.

Plagiarism is not a viable strategy for getting works published. Any indication that you’ve plagiarized will be investigated, and if you’re found to have plagiarized your career and scientific reputation are at stake. Any time you refer to published work you need to reference it, even if it was your own publication. Be very careful about self-plagiarizing!

To learn more about ethical writing take a look at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guide: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing, by Dr. Miguel Roig.

Ethics standards require that you submit your manuscript to only one publisher at a time. If you’re caught submitting to multiple editors none of them will publish your work.

Traps to avoid

Seasoned writers told us some of the pitfalls they’ve learned how to watch out for:

Writing versus editing

Writing and editing are not the same. Get comfortable writing, that is, pouring out all of your ideas without editing yourself. Then go back and edit.

Lack of editing

One of the toughest parts of writing is opening yourself up to critique. As hard as it can be, the best way to get a polished and meaningful manuscript is to have other people read it. As writers we can get attached to particular phrases or styles that may not read as well to other people.

Edit honestly. Imagine that you’re editing someone else’s document to help give you fresh eyes. If possible give yourself a couple of days without looking at the manuscript, then go back and read it.

Being unfamiliar with the literature

It’s important to be familiar with the current literature on the topic you’re writing about. A fatal flaw of any research manuscript is proposing a hypothesis that has already been tested or posing questions that have already been answered.

Not formatting properly

If your manuscript is not formatted properly, it is less likely to be accepted. Make sure your font and line spacing are correct, that you’ve adhered to word and figure limits, and that your references are in the correct style.

Useful tips

Here are some helpful tips that you can use to improve your writing:

Framing your manuscript

A common trope in outlining manuscripts is the inverted triangle approach, which starts generally and ends specifically. A more useful method is to consider an hourglass-shaped outline, which starts generally, specifically addresses your contribution to the field, then ties your contribution back to current knowledge and unanswered questions.

Passive and active voice

Medical writing has long used passive voice to communicate and, while this is still the status quo for many journals, don’t be afraid to get out of that mire. As journals begin to recognize that active voice is not only more economical but can also be more readable they are becoming more comfortable publishing articles that include active voice.

Don’t edit while you write

Get a first draft onto paper as quickly as possible and then edit. Don’t waste time trying to get a paragraph perfect the first time you write it.

Ask someone else to edit

Medical writing does have some unique challenges associated with it. Your audience may not be experts on the material you are delivering, so an ability to communicate complicated information in an accessible manner is very helpful. Improve on your skills by asking people outside of your field to provide constructive criticism on writing samples.

It can be a very useful practice to edit some manuscripts that other people have written. This will help you understand what editors are paying attention to.

Keep track of references

Make sure to keep detailed notes of where you got your references so that you can easily and accurately cite the literature you used. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to remember where you saw a really great reference.

Before you submit your manuscript

Ideally, you’ve left yourself plenty of time to proofread and have other people edit your document. At the very least make sure you budget some hours to carefully proofread. Triple check that your paper adheres to formatting requirements.

Cover letters

If you’re submitting an article for consideration you’ll need to write a cover letter. Take the time to find out who the editor is and address your letter to him or her. This is your chance to communicate with the editor! A generic “To whom it may concern” won’t impress anyone.

Your cover letter should be brief, but it needs to convey the value of your paper to the journal. Describe your main findings and their significance and why they’re a great fit for your publication of interest. 

If you have conflicts of interest, disclose them in your cover letter. Also, if your paper has already been rejected, let them know. Include the reason (if known) and reviewer comments, as well as discussing changes you’ve made to improve the paper.

You can also suggest peer-reviewers or people who shouldn’t review your paper. Be cautious when suggesting reviewers! Some of the most critical reviews come from suggested reviewers.

Your cover letter is an excellent opportunity to prove that you know what the goals of the journal are and that your article furthers them. Don’t waste it!

Reviewer comments/Revisions

If the publisher asks you to address reviewer comments, take the time to do this seriously and thoughtfully. Understand reviewer comments and address them objectively and scientifically (be polite!). If you disagree with a comment, state why and include supporting references. When more experiments or computations are requested, do them. It will make your paper stronger.

When you resubmit your manuscript make sure to identify page/line numbers where changes were made.

What if you’re rejected?

Don’t despair! Rejection happens to every writer. Try to understand why your manuscript was rejected. Evaluate your manuscript honestly and take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.

A rejected paper isn’t a dead paper. You’ll need to make some substantial revisions and may need to change your formatting before resubmitting to a new journal or publisher. In the cover letter to the new editor you’ll need to state that your manuscript was rejected. Include any information you got about why your manuscript was rejected and all reviewer comments. Identify changes you made to the paper and explain why you chose to submit to the new journal.

CONCLUSION

Medical writing can be very rewarding but it’s important that writers have a clear understanding of what publishers are looking for. High-quality, original works that advance the medical field are much more likely to be published than papers that are not original or that have little medical or scientific interest.

Quality medical writing should have clarity, economy of language, and a consistent theme. It’s important to always state the question or topic you’re addressing early and refer to it often. This will help you stay focused and within the scope of your article during the writing process and it will help your readers understand your intentions. Using an outline is a very helpful way to make sure your article is consistently on-topic.

Following the tips and techniques provided here will definitely improve your writing skills, but the most effective way to get better at medical writing is to do it. There is no single best way to prepare a medical manuscript and even professional writers are continuously tweaking their writing strategies.

Hopefully these tips have helped you create a great manuscript. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want some help with your medical writing or editing, we at The Med Writers can help. Contact us to learn more about our writing and editing services. 

The world is in panic, somewhat rightly so. A lot is being written about coronavirus, but not all of it is accurate. Here is some of the lesser-known information and some perspective you may not read in many other places. It includes the only all-inclusive guide to using supplements for prevention or treatment of the novel coronavirus.

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19?)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) results from infection with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The first case was in Wuhan China on December 31st, 2019 and the virus was identified on January 7th, 2020. COVID-19 belongs to a group of viruses known as coronaviruses (CoV), which cause many different infections.

Coronaviruses

Other coronaviruses have resulted in infectious outbreaks in recent years, including:

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV): This virus was first detected in 2002 in the Guangdong province of China. Over 8,000 cases were reported around the world, with 774 deaths (mostly in individuals ages 65 or older). The source was identified as civet cats that were sold for food in a live-animal market; however, the cats had likely been infected by contact with bats. SARS has not been detected since 2004 (1).
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV): This virus was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, which then spread to nearby Jordan. Through 2019, approximately 2,500 cases and 850 related deaths have been reported in 27 different countries. All cases of MERS were linked to residence or travel in and around the Arabian Peninsula. The most likely source of the virus is dromedary camels (1).

What are the differences between COVID-19 and the flu?

While there is continued growing concern about COVID-19, it is important to remember that flu season is still in full swing, and both viruses share many similarities. However, there are some key differences to note between the two as well (2).

Virus

  • COVID-19 is caused by a single virus, which has been named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
  • The flu is caused by many different strains of the influenza virus. Human influenza A and B are the culprits behind the annual flu season, during the winter.

Symptoms

  • Both infections cause cough, fever, fatigue, and body aches; in severe cases, vomiting and diarrhea can occur
  • Pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death can occur in the most serious cases of both

Transmission

  • Both are spread from person-to-person contact, mainly from an infected individual sneezing, coughing or talking
  • An infected person can spread the flu for several days before they show symptoms, and it is believed that this is true for COVID-19 as well (estimates for COVID-19 are up to 14 days)

Vaccines

  • COVID-19: There is currently no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19, but scientists and companies are working quickly to develop one.
  • Flu: A vaccine is released every year to prevent infection with the most common and dangerous strains of flu; additionally, the vaccine can reduce the severity of symptoms if you become infected

Infections and deaths

While the COVID-19 pandemic may seem threatening and scary, it has infected and killed only a very small percentage of people compared to the flu. The statistics for each virus are:

  • COVID-19: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) report as of June 10, 2020:
    • Worldwide
      • 7,145,539 cases
      • 408,025 related deaths (5.7% death rate)
    • United States
      • 1,973,797 cases in all 50 states and 4 territories
      • 112,133 related deaths (5.7% death rate)
  • Flu: The CDC estimates:
    • Worldwide
      • 1 billion cases per year
      • 291,000 to 646,000 related deaths (0.03% – 0.06% death rate)
    • United States
      • Between 9.3 million to 45 million cases per year
      • 12,000 to 61,000 related deaths (0.1% death rate)

Seasonality of COVID-19

We do not know yet if COVID-19 will be impacted by weather or temperature. Many viruses are killed by heat; each one has a different heat tolerance though. Most cases of the flu and common cold occur in winter, but it is still possible to become sick other months of the year. Some hypotheses of why viruses spread more in the winter than other seasons are:
 Days are shorter in the winter, limiting the amount of vitamin D or melatonin a person makes; these factors negatively impact the immune system
 People spend more time indoors and in close contact with one another to stay out of harsh winter weather, spreading viruses more readily
 Viruses may survive better in colder, drier climates and are more easily transmitted from person to person

Who is most impacted by COVID-19?

It is possible for anyone to become infected by COVID-19. Generally, if you are in good health, the virus will be very similar to the flu. Reports from China showed that approximately 80% of patients with confirmed cases had mild symptoms not requiring medical treatment or hospitalization. However, there are risk factors that increase your chance of infection. Some populations are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, such as:

  • Older adults (60 years or older)
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions such as:
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
    • Heart disease
    • Asthma

Individuals who are immunocompromised also need to take special precautions, as their immune systems are not strong enough to fight infections. These include:

  • People who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment
  • Patients who recently had organ transplants
  • People who have certain genetic disorders that lower the immune system

If you are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, there are steps you can take to protect yourself further, including:

  • Stay home if you can, to prevent contact with other people
  • If you do go out, wear a face mask, keep far away from any people and wash your hands often
  • Stock up on supplies to reduce the need to go out, including food, water, medication and other necessities
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel by bus, train, airplane, ferry or cruise ship
  • Start taking immune-boosting dietary supplements (see further down)

COVID-19 and Children

There is a general concern that children are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection because they are young. However, there is no evidence that this is true. The majority of confirmed cases reported from countries around the world have occurred in adults, while fewer have been reported in children, but there definitely are pediatric cases and deaths. Comparing COVID-19 to other coronavirus outbreaks, such as SARS and MERS, infection among children was relatively uncommon (3).

Symptoms in children are usually similar to those in adults:

  • Cough
  • Fever

There are however many other possible symptoms. Gastrointestinal problems, abdominal or chest pain and other seemingly unrelated symptoms have been reported. Often, pediatric ERs are searching for sources of these other symptoms and an X-ray or CT scan shows the lung damage typical with COVID.

Reports from China also suggest that symptoms in children are milder, and more severe complications are uncommon. Like adults, children with preexisting health conditions may be at an increased risk for infection and more severe symptoms (3).

How is COVID-19 spread?

Person-to-person

The most common method of transmission of COVID-19 is from person-to-person. The chances of spread are greater when people are in close contact with one another. Initial reports showed the virus could spread up to 6 feet but newer reports suggest infection from much further distances, as much as 27 feet. Additionally, the virus can be spread through respiratory droplets if an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can then land on a nearby person’s mouth or nose or can be inhaled and expose them to infection.

For this reason, it is best to cough or sneeze into a tissue to prevent droplets from entering the air. Be sure to throw away used tissues in the trash. Afterward, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer that contains 60% or more alcohol can also be used if no soap is available.

A face mask needs to be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by preventing the widespread release of respiratory droplets from a sick person’s mouth and nose.

  • If you are sick: Wear a face mask when around other people (sharing spaces such as rooms or vehicles) and before you enter a healthcare facility. If you cannot wear a mask, be sure to cover all sneezes and coughs and take necessary precautions to limit contact with others.
  • If you are not sick: Wear a mask anytime you leave home to protect you from getting sick and also in case you are a healthy carrier of the virus.

It is imperative that healthcare workers wear N95 or comparable masks while caring for COVID-19 patients.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, the most important thing you can do is stay home. Not only will this help your recovery, but it will also prevent further spread of the virus.

Person-to-animal

Coronaviruses can be transmitted between people and animals, and it is important to limit your contact with animals if you are infected. If possible, another member of your household should take care of your pets when you are sick. If you have COVID-19, avoid contact with your pets through:

  • Petting
  • Being kissed or licked
  • Cuddling
  • Sharing food

To prevent further spread, wash your hands before and after coming into contact with animals and wear a face mask while interacting with pets.

Testing and treatments for COVID-19

How can I get tested for COVID-19?

Currently, in the United States, you can only be tested for COVID-19 if you are showing signs and symptoms of infection (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) and if:

  • You have been in close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and/or
  • You live in or have traveled recently to a place where COVID-19 has been identified

Most US cities now have drive-thru testing sites, that are available by calling the local hotline phone number and answering prescreening questions to determine if you are eligible for an appointment. Search online for your city name and coronavirus testing locations.

The test uses a nasal or oral swab (much like the flu test) to collect respiratory specimens. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released this test under Emergency Use Authorization. This means that although the test has not been officially approved by the FDA, it can still be used to diagnose COVID-19 cases in this time of emergency.

Can I take antibiotics for COVID-19?

Antibiotics do not work in treating an infection with COVID-19, just like they do not treat the flu virus. These drugs are only effective against bacterial infections, and COVID-19 and the flu are viral infections. Taking antibiotics when you do not have a bacterial infection can damage the helpful bacteria in your body, leading to bigger problems like a Clostridium difficile infection. Antibiotic resistance can also develop from taking unnecessary antibiotics, which makes treating other bacterial infections difficult later. If secondary infections, like pneumonia, develop as a result of COVID-19 infection, then antibiotics can be used.

Antiviral drugs

Current antiviral drugs are available by prescription to prevent the flu viruses from multiplying once you are infected. They can also be used for preventing infection (prophylaxis) if someone has been exposed to or come in contact with someone who has the flu. Tamiflu is a prescription antiviral medication that can shorten the length of time someone is sick with the flu (4). This medication would not work for the novel coronavirus infections because it works by targeting a molecule specific to influenza A and B viruses.

There is currently no approved antiviral drug for COVID-19, but companies are working to develop an effective medication. Researchers are currently repurposing already discovered antiviral drugs in hopes of finding one that works specifically against COVID-19. One drug, Remdesivir, was originally developed to treat Ebola and was shown to be effective against the SARS and MERS coronaviruses as well when tested against the viruses in culture dishes. These qualities suggest that it may be an effective drug to use against COVID-19 (5).

Coronaviruses use RNA as their genetic material, as opposed to humans who use DNA. The drug Remdesivir works by inhibiting an enzyme that is specific only to RNA viruses, named RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. A man in Washington State who tested positive for COVID-19 received Remdesivir and recovered well. While his results are promising for the effectiveness of the antiviral medication, larger-scale clinical trials are needed to verify these findings (5).

Many clinical trials are being conducted worldwide for patients with severe cases of COVID-19 and for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The results of theses many trials are starting to be published, with many more to come. In the United States, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases set up a multi-site clinical trial to test Remdesivir against a placebo. Up to 50 sites around the world are involved (5).

There are currently 2,208 registered clinical trials globally for COVID There are bound to be some additional drugs with promising results soon.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

Currently, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19. However, scientists around the world are working quickly to develop an effective vaccine to combat spread and infection. Normally it takes 10 to 30 years for scientists to develop an effective vaccine. Obviously, we cannot wait that long. A company called Moderna started testing a potential vaccine in early March in Seattle in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Thy estimate that it will still take a year for a vaccine to be ready for the public. A company in North Florida called Ology Bioservices received a federal grant on March 23rd to rapidly manufacture Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ DNA virus vaccine IN-4800 for testing against the novel coronavirus. These are just two examples of the hundreds of companies globally racing to find and manufacture a vaccine.

What are steps I can take to protect myself?

Cleaning

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched daily, including:

·        Doorknobs ·        Handles
·        Tables ·        Light switches
·        Countertops ·        Keyboards
·        Desks ·        Phones
·        Toilets ·        Sinks and faucets

To clean surfaces, use soap or detergent with water to wipe away dirt. Afterward, disinfect using any EPA-registered household disinfectant that is best suited for the surface of interest. Something with bleach is the safest way to go. A comprehensive list of products that are effective against COVID-19 can be found here.

If needed, other options for disinfectants include:

  • Diluted household bleach (that has not expired)
    • Mix 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of water

OR

  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  • Alcohol solutions (greater than 70% alcohol)

Diet and Lifestyle

During pandemics like COVID-19, it is important to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Your immune system functions best when you stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods. Be sure to also thoroughly cook meat and eggs that you prepare to prevent any other sickness.

Stress negatively impacts your overall health and wellbeing, weakening your immune system. While high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are beneficial short-term, long-term exposure can become damaging. Stress also decreases your white blood cell count, making it difficult to fight off viral infections such as COVID-19 (6).

It is also important to protect you and your family at home and out in the community. Keep hand sanitizer at entrances to your living space to use as you go in and out. It is also a good idea to keep a travel-size bottle in your car to use after pumping gas, opening doors, etc. Encourage your family to limit physical contact with others – instead of shaking hands, use a fist or elbow bump.

When you go out into areas with many people, be mindful of what surfaces your hands are contacting. If possible, avoid opening doors with your hands, and instead use your hips or a closed fist. This is especially important for bathrooms and other commercial locations. When you are grocery shopping, carry hand sanitizer, or disposable latex or nitrile latex gloves to prevent spread on your hands.

Most of all, avoid touching your face as much as possible. We touch our faces close to 100 times a day, most of the time without realizing it. If you touched a surface in a public place, you want to make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your face.  Use the back of your hand or your knuckles if you have to touch your face while out in public. People have been wearing gloves out, which makes them less likely to touch their face with the gloves on. We are also seeing people in public with face masks on as this not only may prevent any airborne virus from infecting them (depending on the type of mask) but more importantly, it prevents them from touching their noses and mouths to possibly infect themselves. While you may not want to wear gloves and/or a face mask out all the time, it may be a consideration when going to busy places if you have a lowered immune system.

Supplements

One way to naturally boost your immune system is by taking certain vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. Here we have provided a comprehensive alphabetical list of natural approaches known to enhance your body’s defenses against the cold and flu viruses. These may also help guard against COVID-19.

A note about vitamin and mineral supplements

Immune system function has been shown to be supported by high doses of natural vitamins and minerals that are often deficient and depleted at times of infection.  While vitamins and mineral boosting can be very beneficial to the body’s ability to fight viral infection, care should be taken not to take very high doses for more than a few weeks at a time. Some of these cannot be taken together, so read carefully rather than buying them all first. Also, for some of these dietary supplements, the prevention doses can be drastically increased if you are sick, but these doses are just for a short time till you are better.

Artemisia Annua

This herb has been found to have anti-viral studies though no studies have yet been done against the SARS-CoV2 virus. It can be taken as capsules or a tea. It is not recommended for long-term use – only for short term use if sick or if suspected exposure has occurred.

Andrographis

The immune-boosting andrographis has been shown to be effective at reducing cold and flu symptoms.  Specifically, it reduces the amount of mucus in the nose and is an effective treatment for upper respiratory tract infections when taken within three days of the onset of symptoms. Take 1 capsule containing 300 mg daily with food.

Cantron

This is a unique natural blend of minerals, a B vitamin and plant antioxidants that are able to effectively boost the immune system.  It has been around for 23 years and has many, many case reports of its effectiveness against cold and flu.  It is safe and non-toxic. Take 1 capsule 4 times daily.  Note: Coenzyme Q10, Selenium and large doses of vitamin C & E may decrease the effectiveness of this product. If sick, then take 1 capsule 6 times daily.

Carnivora

Carnivora is a powerful phytonutrient, extracted from the Venus flytrap plant, Dionaea muscipula.  It has been studied and used for many years to support immune system function.  Research has shown is has antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties, as well as having positive preventative results with cancers and cardiovascular problems. Take 3 capsules daily for 6 days, skipping the seventh day.  After 5 weeks, stop taking it for a week. If sick, then take 20 drops 4 times daily for 6 days, skipping the seventh day.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver was commonly used as an immune booster in the early part of the 20th century and has recently been ‘rediscovered’. It works in the body by disabling the enzyme that bacteria need for their oxygen metabolism. They suffocate and die without any negative effects to the normal human oxygen metabolism. It is great for preventing or treating bacterial infections that arise from a cold or flu. Take 2 teaspoons (10 PPM) daily under the tongue for up to 10 days at a time. If sick, then take 2 teaspoons (10 PPM) daily under the tongue for up to 10 days at a time.

Additionally, silver nanoparticles have been shown in studies to inactivate viruses. Due to a lack of proven safety, these are not yet recommended.

EGCG

This is an ingredient in green tea and made somewhat popular due to its ability to aid weight loss.  Studies have shown that ECGC boosts the immune system and protects against many types of diseases.  In addition, it prevents flu viruses and other types of viruses from taking hold in the body. Take 1 capsule (250 mg) twice daily.

Flax Hull Lignans

These lignans are a great source of omega-3s and antioxidants which can boost the immune system. These are more of a food than a supplement since they are not pills, capsules or liquid. As a small business, we support other small businesses and buy ours from https://ndinnovations.com/.

Garlic

Garlic has long been known to be a strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Both fresh garlic and garlic oil capsules or tablets are effective. Taking 180 mg daily of garlic’s active ingredient allicin was shown to reduce rates of infection with cold viruses by half. With fresh garlic, each clove contains 4-14 mg of allicin once crushed, so it can take 12-45 cloves to get this preventative dose of garlic. Typical garlic oil capsules or tablets have this equivalent in one tablet or capsule.

Iodide/Iodine (Iodoral)

Iodine has been shown in numerous studies to be antiviral against several types of influenza viruses.  It is also antibacterial. Take 1 drop (600 mcg) in water each morning.

Oscillococcinum

Oscillococcinum is a commonly-used, safe and powerful immune booster. Many studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing the duration of influenza infections and the severity of flu symptoms.  In a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, 63% of patients taking Oscillococcinum showed a great reduction in symptoms after 48 hours.  It also can be taken as a preventative, to help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of contracting the flu. Oscillococcinum is available over the counter at most pharmacies and supplement stores. Dissolve one tube of pellets in your mouth twice a week. If sick, then dissolve one tube of pellets in your mouth 3 times daily.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a plant antioxidant commonly found in citrus fruits.  An animal study showed that it prevents the flu virus from multiplying. Take 1 capsule (500 mg) daily.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a powerful phytonutrient that has received a lot of attention from the scientific community because it is a strong antioxidant.  Most commonly found in the skins of red grapes and grape products, like red wine, resveratrol reduces the risk of getting heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.  Recent studies show that it is very effective in the treatment of influenza A viruses.  It prevents the virus from taking hold, blocking the parts of the cell that the virus uses to reproduce.  Take 1 capsule (250 mg) daily.

Probiotics

A healthy immune system relies on a critical balance of ‘beneficial’ bacteria in the gut.  Probiotic supplements restore these beneficial bacteria, which often become diminished through sickness caused by harmful microbes, poor nutrition and antibiotic drugs.  This restoration is critical for the body to fight viral infections and for general optimal health. Take 1 refrigerated capsule (1-10 billion CFUs) daily on an empty stomach. Always keep probiotic supplements in the fridge. If sick, then take 2 refrigerated capsules up to 3 times daily on an empty stomach.

Sambucol/Elderberry

Sambucol is an extract of the fruit of the elderberry shrub, Sambucus nigra.  Elderberries have been used traditionally around the world to prevent and shorten the duration of influenza infections.  It is thought that the three specific flavonoids found in black elderberries have potent anti-viral properties. Sambucol has been shown to be effective in fighting ten different cold and flu virus strains.  In a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. Take 1 teaspoonful daily. If sick, then take 1 teaspoonful every 3 hours.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral well known for boosting the immune system.  Studies have shown that in selenium-deficient animals, they get a more severe viral infection than the mice that have adequate selenium in their diets. Take 1 capsule (200 mcg) daily. If sick, then take 10 capsules (100,000 IU) 3 times daily for 7 to 10 days or until the infection is gone.

Vitamin A (Retinol NOT beta carotene)

Vitamin A has been shown to stop viruses from reproducing. It causes the immune system to make a molecule called interferon that blocks the replication of viruses. This works not just for cold and flu viruses, but any virus. Take 3 capsules (30,000 IU) daily.  Note: Do NOT take if you are pregnant.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful immune booster and is water-soluble, which allows the body to cope with it in large amounts. Take 1 capsule (1,000 mg) 3 times daily. If sick, then take 1 capsule (1,000 mg) every hour while awake.  Note: If your stools become loose, reduce your dose.

Vitamin D

Studies show that adequate vitamin D can reduce the occurrence of colds and flu.  That makes sense since cold and flu season coincides with winter when people get less sunshine and therefore have lower blood vitamin D levels. There is preliminary evidence that vitamin D at very high levels is effective against COVID. Take 10,000 IU daily for 3 weeks to rapidly raise vitamin D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU daily after that. If sick, don’t reduce the dose – keep taking the 10,000 IU daily. Also get as much direct sunshine on face, chest, arms and legs as possible daily, while staying away from people.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E boosts the immune system and has been shown to decrease the amount of influenza virus in animals during an infection. Take 1 capsule (400 IU) daily.

Zinc

Zinc is well known for boosting the immune system. Take 1 capsule (25 mg) daily.

Conclusion

Protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19, stay informed and stay calm. The spread of this virus may slow down with rising spring and soon summer temperatures, becoming seasonal much like the flu but we do not know that for sure yet. Ask us any questions you have below in the comments box. We are a team of doctorate-level biomedical scientists and MDs. We are also available to write articles for you, like this or completely different, depending on your audience and business. Contact us now to let us know how we can help you or your business.

Sources

  1. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/respiratory-viruses/coronaviruses-and-acute-respiratory-syndromes-covid-19,-mers,-and-sars#v8948899
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html
  4. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/tamiflu-consumer-questions-and-answers
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-promising-antiviral-is-being-tested-for-the-coronavirus-but-results-are-not-yet-out/
  6. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

Studies on the Recommended Supplements

Andrographis

Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, Asawamekin A, Chanchareon U. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2004 Feb;29(1):37-45.

Carnivora

Krishnaswamy M, Purushothaman KK.  Plumbagin: a study of its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. India J Exp Biol. 1980;18(8):876-877.

Checker R, Sharma D, Sandur SK, Subrahmanyam G, Krishnan S, Poduval TB, Sainis KB. Plumbagin inhibits proliferative and inflammatory responses of T cells independent of ROS generation but by modulating intracellular thiols. J Cell Biochem. 2010 Aug 1;110(5):1082-93.

Kreher B, Neszmelyi A, Polos K, Wagner H.  Structure educidation of plumbagin analogs from Dionaea muscipula and their in vitro immunological activity on human granulocytes and lymphocytes.  Planta Med. 1989;55(1):112.

Kreher B,  Neszmelyi A, Polos K, Wagner H.  Structure elucidation of plumbagin-analogues from Dionaea muscipula and their immunomodulating activities in vitro and in vivo.  Molecular Recognition.  Int. Symposium Sopron, Hungary, 1988 August;24-27.

Rastogi RP, Dhawan BN.  Anti- and antiviral activities in Indian medicinal plants. Drug Dev Res. 1990;19(1):1-12.

Colloidal Silver

Zhang Y, Peng H, Huang W, Zhou Y, Yan D. Facile preparation and characterization of highly antimicrobial colloid Ag or Au nanoparticles. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2008 Sep 15;325(2):371-6.

Howes HC. Penicillin versus silver nitrate. Can Nurse. 1951 Jan;47(1):28-9.

ECGC

Song JM, Lee KH, Seong BL. Antiviral effect of catechins in green tea on influenza virus. Antiviral Res. 2005 Nov;68(2):66-74.

Furuta T, Hirooka Y, Abe A, Sugata Y, Ueda M, Murakami K, Suzuki T, Tanaka K, Kan T. Concise synthesis of dideoxy-epigallocatechin gallate (DO-EGCG) and evaluation of its anti-influenza virus activity. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2007 Jun 1;17(11):3095-8.

Xiao X, Yang ZQ, Shi LQ, Liu J, Chen W. Antiviral effect of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on influenza A virus. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Nov;33(22):2678-82.

Garlic

Lissiman E, Bhasale AL, Cohen M. Garlic for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Nov 11;(11):CD006206.

Iodine

Shiraishi T, Nakagawa Y. Evaluation of the bactericidal activity of povidone-iodine and commercially available gargle preparations. Dermatology. 2002;204 Suppl 1:37-41.

Taylor CF. Study on the prevention of the common cold and influenza by iodine. Scalpel. 1954 Nov 20;107(47):1235-9.

Sabracos L, Romanou S, Dontas I, Coulocheri S, Ploumidou K, Perrea D. The in vitro effective antiviral action of povidone-iodine (PVP-I) may also have therapeutic potential by its intravenous administration diluted with Ringer’s solution. Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(2):272-4.

Oscillococcinum

Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled, double-blind evaluation. Br Homeopath J. 1998;87:69-76.

Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F. A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1989;27:329-335.

Quercetin

Kim Y, Narayanan S, Chang KO. Inhibition of influenza virus replication by plant-derived isoquercetin. Antiviral Res. 2010 Nov;88(2):227-35.

Resveratrol

Palamara AT, Nencioni L, Aquilano K, et al. Inhibition of influenza A virus replication by resveratrol. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2005;191(10):1719-29.

Friel H, Lederman H. A nutritional supplement formula for influenza A (H5N1) infection in humans. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(3):578-87.

Drago L, Nicola L, Ossola F, De Vecchi E. In vitro antiviral activity of resveratrol against respiratory viruses. J Chemother. 2008 Jun;20(3):393-4.

Guan WD, Yang ZF, Liu N, Qin S, Zhang FX, Zhu YT. In vitro experimental study on the effect of resveratrol against several kinds of respiroviruses. Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Sep;31(9):1388-90.

Burns J, Yokota T, Ashihara H, Lean ME, Crozier A. Plant foods and herbal sources of resveratrol. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(11):3337-3340.

Rimando AM, Kalt W, Magee JB, Dewey J, Ballington JR. Resveratrol, pterostilbene, and piceatannol in vaccinium berries. J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(15):4713-4719.

Sanders TH, McMichael RW, Jr., Hendrix KW. Occurrence of resveratrol in edible peanuts. J Agric Food Chem. 2000;48(4):1243-1246.

Aggarwal BB, Bhardwaj A, Aggarwal RS, Seeram NP, Shishodia S, Takada Y. Role of resveratrol in prevention and therapy of cancer: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 2004;24(5A):2783-2840.

Baur JA, Pearson KJ, Price NL, et al. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. Nature. 2006;444(7117):337-342.

Valenzano DR, Terzibasi E, Genade T, Cattaneo A, Domenici L, Cellerino A. Resveratrol prolongs lifespan and retards the onset of age-related markers in a short-lived vertebrate. Curr Biol. 2006;16(3):296-300.

Siemann EH, Creasey LL. Concentration of the phytoalexin resveratrol in wine. Am J Enol Vitic. 1992;43(1):49-52.

Criqui MH, Ringel BL. Does diet or alcohol explain the French paradox? Lancet. 1994;344(8939-8940):1719-1723.

St Leger AS, Cochrane AL, Moore F. Factors associated with cardiac mortality in developed countries with particular reference to the consumption of wine. Lancet. 1979;1(8124):1017-1020.

Orgogozo JM, Dartigues JF, Lafont S, et al. Wine consumption and dementia in the elderly: a prospective community study in the Bordeaux area. Rev Neurol. 1997;153:185-192.

Truelsen T, Thudium D, Gronbaek M. Amount and type of alcohol and risk of dementia: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Neurology. 2002;59:1313-1319.

Luchsinger JA, Tang MX, Siddiqui M, Shea S, Mayeux R. Alcohol intake and risk of dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004;52:540-546.

Lindsay J, Laurin D, Verreault R, et al. Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: a prospective analysis from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Am J Epidemiol. 2002;156:445-453.

Ladiwala ARA, Lin JC, Bale SS, et al. Resveratrol selectively remodels soluble oligomers and fibrils of amyloid Ab into off-pathway conformers. J Biol Chem. 2010;285(31):24228-31.

Sambucol

Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. J Infect Dis. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.

Vitamin D

Grant WB. Vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of type A influenza infection and subsequent pneumonia. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 Oct;29(10):987.

Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4).

Some pharma, biotech, medical device, healthcare, supplement, and health & wellness companies do not think they need online content because of their sales model. I challenge even referral-based businesses to reconsider and get some online content via landing pages, blog articles, videos, case studies, reviews, and social media posts. This is not meant to bring in new leads – though it can if you want it to. This content is to show referrals that Google you before they reach out, that you are a “real” business and help pre-sell them before they ever call or email.

Do you have a document that needs to be updated so that your legal department will approve it for continued use? Many of our corporate clients have marketing or educational documents that need to be checked and updated. This is necessary because there may be relevant new studies that have come out since the client’s document was written. We help by doing fact checking and updating the references in your document, so that it is up-to-date with current discoveries. We also do annotations. It is often required to add annotations throughout the document to show what reference or source each fact is taken from, and where exactly within that reference the information is located. All of these things are usually needed to get the legal department to approve the document for current use.

We have lots of experience in all of these areas. We have done fact checking, reference updating and annotating for several clients, hundreds of times. We have worked with Word documents, PDFs and PowerPoints. Sometimes it is marketing materials, sometimes it is educational material for sale reps, sometimes it is website content. We’ve done them all. You can trust our team of medical writers to get your corporate documents ready to use and approved by legal.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a pharma, biotech or healthcare company or a medical writing or marketing agency; we’ve worked for them all. Our team of PhD scientists and MDs understand your company’s products or services, and are well equipped to do your fact checking, update your references and annotate your corporate documents. We spend all day in PubMed, looking up and reading studies to find the perfect studies to reference in projects. We are experienced at fact checking, updating references and annotating.

Contact us now with information on your project, your deadline and your budget. No timeline is too tight! We’ve worked on projects that are due the same day or next day. We always have some team members available for rush projects and urgents requests.

Dietary supplements have become a multi-billion-dollar industry, with supplement formulations available to help with just about anything, from losing weight to boosting cognitive function to controlling diabetes, and everything in between.

The New York Times would have you think that supplements are useless, a waste of money, but hundreds of studies have shown otherwise; however, caution is in order. As with any other industry, there are some unscrupulous companies and people in the supplement industry. One investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office found that several supplements sold at major retailers made label claims that were false. Several did not contain the amount of active ingredients claimed, and in some cases, did not contain the ingredients at all.

If you are a small supplement company that contracts out the manufacturing of your products, reports like these are worrisome. You’ve paid an expert to create a custom supplement formulation for you, or you’ve paid to private label an existing formulation, and you don’t want that investment to be for naught. You want to make sure that you are selling a quality supplement that actually contains what the label says it contains.

We are here to help. We’ve been in the supplement game for several years and can recommend a good supplement manufacturer that will turn out a quality product for you. If you already have a supplement manufacturer, and are worried about the quality of your product, we can also recommend a third-party lab that you can go to, to have your supplement tested.

Don’t leave the reputation of your company in the hands of a manufacturer; make sure they aren’t cutting corners on your product. Contact us today for help in finding a good supplement manufacturer.

WSCS

Need a new heart or kidney, or to relieve an injured joint? Or do you just want to get rid of wrinkles or live a more energized life? There are stem cells for all of that. It’s now called regenerative medicine. I attended the World Stem Cell Summit 2016 conference in West Palm Beach in December and it was like a scene from Back To The Future.

The conversation at lunch one of the days  went like, “we do ozone injections for immediate pain and inflammation relief in an injured joint. Then we inject stem cells to repair the injury.” That was the owner of a stem cell injection company, sitting across the table from me. Then next to me was VP of sales for Panasonic Healthcare, who spoke up telling me that freezers have up to a four degree variation in different parts of the freezer and at different times, and that’s unacceptable for storing vaccines. He went on to explain that Panasonic Healthcare has developed freezers that can maintain stable temperatures for storage of government vaccines. He elaborated that their Panasonic Healthcare marketing department was having a hard time correctly positioning that product for it to sell as expected.

These conversations weren’t unusual nerdy conversations – the whole conference was like this. The next morning, a University of Miami researcher spoke about saving a patient’s life with stem cell generation of cardiac tissue after his doctors said there was nothing else they could do for him. So, it wasn’t just science and business; every aspect of regenerative medicine was covered.

The World Stem Cell Summit is worth attending, not only for researchers and students, but for any type of company involved in the industry. They even have a day at the beginning of the conference for the general public to come in and have their questions about stem cell therapies answered. Looking forward to next year’s conference!

Our team at The Med Writers stays on top of current research, not just through reading publications, but through attending medical and scientific conferences that help us stay abreast of cutting edge information and meet industry influencers. The 2017 conference dates and location haven’t been announced yet, but keep an eye out here.

This is an interview from November 17th, 2016. The company owner, Dr. Karen Vieira was interviewed by WBTV from Boca Raton, Florida after just graduating from the Florida State University Jim Moran Institute Small Business Executive Program. The FSU JMI SBEP is a 5 month program, where small business owners spend a full day twice per month in seminars and discussions on topics like sales, marketing, HR, legal, finance, IT and more. Participants are required to create a strategic plan for their businesses during the program and present that plan to their peers on graduation day. It is a free but extremely valuable program for small businesses. Dr. Vieira is a graduate of the first JMI SBEP held in Palm Beach County.

Although she was sick, as you can hear from her strained voice, she showed up for the final class in order to graduate. Follow through is key in life and in business!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RfCEPSC-Nw

 

On October 19th, 2016, The Med Writers’ founder and owner Dr. Karen Vieira was interviewed on 900 AM Talk of The Palm Beaches as part of the Palm Beach SCORE radio show. Hit play to hear from Dr. Vieira all about how the company was started and her journey as an entrepreneur to where the company is now and the direction it is moving in.

 

Who is the Middle Man?

The middle man is a person or company that serves as the go-between for you (the client) and your medical writing service provider (i.e. The Med Writers). You explain to the middle man what you envision for your medical writing project and they, in turn, relay the message to  your medical writing service provider. Sound efficient doesn’t? The fact of the matter is, though, it can proved to be a great deal more complicated and messy than it sounds. Let’s see why.

What to Expect from the Middle Man

  • Miscommunication

    1. Miscommunication usually occurs when you have too many persons consulting on your medical writing project.
    2. For example, you contact one of these agencies and tell them what you envision for your company website. The agency (middleman) in turn may reach out to their in-house writers or outsource the work to a medical writing company like The Med Writers. However, due to the fact that you (the client) have not personally spoken to the medical writer yourself to make sure understand what you want, you end up with a product that is everything but what you expected.
  • A Costly Experience

    1. Now you may be thinking to yourself, high-quality medical content doesn’t come cheap. It would be better to spend more money working through an agency (the middleman) because at least I will get more for my money, right? Wrong! Let’s revisit the example from above. Suppose the medical content you receive requires more edits. Let’s do the math, shall we? More edits = More money. Why? Because now they have to pay their medical writers more money to meet your requirements, which, in turn means that they will have to charge you more. That is so not a win-win situation.

In short, expect a huge hassle with a side of frustration if you choose to have a middle man handle your medical writing projects.

On the other hand, you can choose to work with The Med Writers. Let me give some reasons as to why this would be the best choice.

What to Expect with The Med Writers

  • Direct Communication with Us

    1. You will be able to speak directly with your medical writers and convey your what you envision and hope for and we will in turn provide you with exactly what you want hands down!
    2. So this is how it goes. You contact The Med Writers via our company website, email or phone and explain to us the scope of your project. Once you have accepted the terms of payment we will get started on your medical writing project and deliver you a product that meets your satisfaction guaranteed. Es pan comida!
  • A Cost-Effective Experience

    1. Now that the middle man is gone, that’s one less person you have to pay. That means more of your hard-earned money stays right where it belong…in your pocket.
    2. With The Med Writers, you only have to pay for the medical writing services that you require for your specific project. Should you receive the medical website content and require some changes or edits, don’t worry! Every price we give includes unlimited revisions!

 

So why choose The Med Writers? Well,  if you would like to have hassle-free, cost effective experience, we are the people for the job. Contact us at info@themedwriters.com or leave request a quote here.