The field of biomedical science is enormous and it can sometimes be overwhelming to find the right journal for each manuscript. Research has become such a fast-paced and competitive environment that rapid publication of experimental findings is necessary. 

Choosing the wrong journal can lead to many months of lost time if the submission is rejected. The purpose of this list of journals is to help scientists, doctors, researchers and companies get published quickly. Many of these have quick review times, electronic publication, good acceptance rates and lower impact factors. 

Journals with higher impact factors often do not have to boast quick publication times because they have a constant flow of quality submissions. However, the desire to spread new knowledge promptly is gaining more support and even high impact journals are beginning to offer faster publication options.

Disclaimer: The values listed in this article for publication time and acceptance rate are approximate ranges based on external reviews of the journals and may not accurately reflect an individual experience or actual averages unless stated on the journal’s website. 

1.  Journal of Clinical Medicine

Approx. Time to Publication:  1 month
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  2.046 (2018) 
Open Access: Yes

The Journal of Clinical Medicine publishes articles for advanced health care practices and general medical research. It focuses on high visibility, rapid publication and thorough peer-review.

2.  Experimental Physiology

Approx. Time to Publication: 1 month
Acceptance rate:  ~29%
Impact factor:  2.624 (2018)
Open Access:  Optional

Experimental Physiology focuses on publishing articles on the topics of homeostatic and adaptive health responses as well as pathophysiological mechanisms of disease. With one of the fastest average times to online publication, this journal is a great option for articles matching the journal’s focus.

3. Methods and Applications in Fluorescence

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate:  —
Impact factor:  2.940 (2018)
Open Access:  Optional

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence aims to publish articles on novel developments in fluorescence spectroscopy, imaging, microscopy, fluorescent probes, labels and nanomaterials. They utilize a single-blind peer review process for quick publication and quality review.

4.  International Journal of Nanomedicine

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: 80%
Impact factor:  4.471 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

The International Journal of Nanomedicine has a very quick publication timeline and a high acceptance rate and covers a large range of topics in the field of nanomedicine. The journal accepts all applications of nanotechnology but is focused mainly on drug delivery, biosensors, regenerative nanomedicine, nanodiagnostics, nanoinformatics and nanotoxicity.

5. Journal of Physiology

Approx. Time to Publication:  1.5 months
Acceptance rate:  ~25%
Impact factor:  4.950 (2018)
Open Access:  Optional

The Journal of Physiology publishes research across all areas of physiology and pathophysiology. They are most interested in publishing articles with a clinical or translational focus, new principles or mechanisms, lower vertebrate of invertebrate models and theoretical computational models.

6.  Glia

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate:  ~75%
Impact factor:  5.829 (2018) 
Open Access: Optional

Glia is the number one journal for glia research and publishes manuscripts that provide insights into the aspects of glial structure and function. Accepted manuscripts are published online promptly through Early View for rapid publication.

7. Vision

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: 70%
Impact factor:  —
Open Access: Yes

Vision is an international journal that publishes a wide range of articles within eye research. The journal was first launched in 2017 and does not have an impact factor score yet. With no page length minimum or maximum and a quick acceptance time, this journal is a great option for researchers in ophthalmology looking for a fast publication. 

8. Physiological Reports

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate:  —
Impact factor:  2.130 (2019)
Open Access:  Yes

Physiological Reports is an open access journal that publishes articles from basic and translational physiology and closely related fields. The journal aims to publish all deserving work and often accepts referred rejected articles from supporter journals.

9. Journal of International Medicinal Research

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: ~60%
Impact factor:  1.351 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

The Journal of International Medicinal Research publishes original research of clinical and preclinical manuscripts as well as reviews, meta-analyses, pilot studies and case reports. They focus on rapid peer review, rapid publication and broad distribution of research.

10. Molecules

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: ~60%
Impact factor: 3.060 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

Molecules is an international journal that focuses on chemistry and is published semi-monthly. Along with being open access, Molecules also has expanded indexing and no restrictions on article length or extra charges for color images. The journal has a somewhat larger scope then others on this list with the fastest publication time and reviews articles in most biological and chemical fields as long as there is a focus on molecular properties or interactions.

11. eLife

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: ~50% (no set rate)
Impact factor: 6.830 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

eLife is a non-profit publisher of articles across many fields in science and technology. The journal’s main goal is to promote communication in research by reducing the number of revision rounds, requesting more data only if they are essential and providing the opportunity for authors to share a preprinted version of a submitted article to the online server, bioRxiv, while the manuscript is under review. This allows the research to be available much quicker than standard publications. eLife also does not have a set number or rate for accepted papers and therefore judges each article independently without other constraints.

12. RMD Open

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: 39%
Impact factor:  3.440 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

RMD Open publishes original research covering musculoskeletal disorders, rheumatism and connective tissue disease. The journal focuses on small studies and clinical cases. RMD Open has a high acceptance rate and a quick publication time but is limited by a small research focus. 

13. Journal of Neuroscience

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: ~25%
Impact factor:  6.074 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

The Journal of Neuroscience is the official journal of Society for Neuroscience and publishes articles in any neuroscience related discipline. Among their core values are scientific rigor, prompt publication and constructive peer review. This journal is open to all manuscripts in the vast field of neuroscience and has a very quick review process.

14. Journal of Experimental Biology

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate:  ~80%
Impact factor:  3.017 (2018) 
Open Access: Optional

JEB is the leading journal of comparative animal physiology that seeks to publish manuscripts with a novel, mechanistic and hypothesis driven experimental design. Publication is free with this journal but to have your paper published with open access has a fee.

15. eNeuro

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate: ~80%
Impact factor:  3.460 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

eNeuro’s mission is to promote science that aids to the understanding of the nervous system which may fall short of the criteria required for the Journal of Neuroscience. This includes manuscripts of all length describing new methodologies, novel observations without a clear mechanistic pathway or negative results within the field of neuroscience.

16. Neuropharmacology

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate: 32% 
Impact factor: 4.367 (2019)
Open Access: Optional

Neuropharmacology focuses on the impacts of “chemical agents on neurobiological processes”. This journal focuses mainly on research using mammalian species but does not typically publish clinical research. Even though the scope of this journal is relatively specific, prompt publication and a fair acceptance rate make this a good option for articles in this field.

17. Molecular Cancer Research

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  4.484 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

The scope of Molecular Cancer Research focuses on basic research with a broad reach within the cancer field. More specifically the journal is interested in mechanistic pathways of cancer risk, development or progression. This journal also has an “OnlineFirst” program that publishes electronic articles promptly after peer review but before copyediting to promote fast manuscript release.

18. Communications Biology

Approx. Time to Publication:  2-3 months
Acceptance rate:  ~80%
Impact factor:  —
Open Access: Yes
Communications Biology is from the Nature family but was launched recently in 2018.  The journal will review a research manuscript from any field of biology. Since they are a relatively new journal, their acceptance rate is remains high while maintaining a quick timeline for publication.

19.  Physiology and Behavior

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate:  55%
Impact factor:  2.635 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

Physiology and Behavior is focused on the causal mechanisms of behavior and is particularly interested in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.

20. Cell Chemical Biology

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate:  —
Impact factor:  3.15 (2019) 
Open Access:  Optional

Cell Chemical Biology reviews a wide variety of manuscripts but encourages submissions that provide conceptual advancement to a subject that has a general or broad interest to both chemists and biologists.

21. Journal of Hypertension

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor: 4.209 (2019)
Open Access: Yes   

The Journal of Hypertension is a very focused journal with a limited scope. However, the journal has a “commitment to rapid publication” which allows for fast completion times for articles following under this field.

22. PLOS Genetics

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate: ~42%
Impact factor: 5.030 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

PLOS Genetics is multidisciplinary and publishes manuscripts from every field of biology by maintaining the common link of genetic findings. This journal has a wide variety of article types but focuses on originality, importance, broad interests, rigorous study and strong evidence as the criteria for publication. A fast publication timeline and nearly 50% acceptance rate makes this journal a candidate for strong consideration for manuscript submission.

23.  Oncogenesis

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  5.995 (2018) 
Open Access:  Yes

Oncogenesis is an open access journal that seeks to explore the molecular basis of cancer and malignant change.  The quick publication time of this journal makes it a great option for cancer research.

24. mBio

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate: ~50%Ž
Impact factor:  6.500 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

mBio accepts all manuscripts that relate to microbiology and similar fields for rapid publication. The journal accepts original research (~5000 words), mini-reviews (~6000 words), opinions (~2500 words), perspectives ~(2000 words), observations (~1200 words) and commentaries (~1000 words).

25. Journal of Cell Biology

Approx. Time to Publication: 2-3 months
Acceptance rate: 33%
Impact factor:  8.891 (2019)
Open Access: Optional

The Journal of Cell Biology accepts articles from many different subfields. They are focused mostly on the research topic of cell biology and will accept research in this field without requiring any specific type of experimental approach.  The main criteria for publication are novel, significant and interesting findings.

26. Journal of Anatomy

Approx. Time to Publication: 3 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor: 2.638 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

The Journal of Anatomy focuses on exploring the field through analyzing structure, function, development and evolution. Special focus is given to articles using modern imaging techniques with clear relevance to the anatomical community. 

27.  Mobile DNA

Approx. Time to Publication:  3 months
Acceptance rate:  —
Impact factor: 3.630 (2018) 
Open Access: Yes

Mobile DNA aims to publish novel research into the DNA rearrangement of organisms and the utility of mobile genetic elements. Although somewhat limited in scope, Mobile DNA maintains a fairly quick revision time and open access status for prompt publication.

28. Scientific Reports

Approx. Time to Publication: 3 months
Acceptance rate: 56%
Impact factor: 4.011 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

Scientific Reports is open to research from natural and clinical sciences including physical sciences, earth and environmental sciences, biological sciences and health sciences. This journal is from the same publishing group as Nature and focuses on quick publications that are easily discovered by promoting open access and PubMed indexing. 

29. PLOS Pathogens

Approx. Time to Publication: 3 months
Acceptance rate: ~50%
Impact factor:  6.463 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

PLOS Pathogens is an open access journal focused on bacterial, fungal, parasitic, viral and prion infections and how they interact with their host. The publication criteria for this journal focus on originality, importance and rigor of the research. 

30. Current Biology

Approx. Time to Publication: 3-4 months
Acceptance rate: ~80%
Impact factor:  9.193 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

Current Biology is a journal that focuses very generally on new advances in all fields of biology. The journal aims to increase communication and collaboration across the many fields with biological interests. Current Biology has a high acceptance rate and a fairly quick time to publication. They also have a pre-submission inquiry program that aims to reduce wasted time for authors by screening the article abstract and cover letter for suitability. The editors typically complete this process in one working day.

31. Experimental and Molecular Medicine

Approx. Time to Publication: 3-4 months
Acceptance rate:  ~65%
Impact factor:  4.743 (2019) 
Open Access: Yes

EMM is an online open-access journal that seeks to publish developments in translational research and biomedical science that are applicable to improved clinical human health. The journal’s high acceptance rate, quick time to publication and broad scope make it a great choice for a biomedical science manuscript.

32. Journal of Biomedical Informatics

Approx. Time to Publication:  3-4 months
Acceptance rate:  ~25%
Impact factor:  2.950 (2018)
Open Access:  Optional

The Journal of Biomedical informatics focuses on publications highlighting new methodologies and techniques that evolve the science of biomedical informatics and are directly applicable to biomedical sciences.

33. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association: JAMIA

Approx. Time to Publication:  3-4 months
Acceptance rate: ~20%
Impact factor:  4.292 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

JAMIA is a health informatics and biomedical science journal that covers a wide variety of topics including education and public health. The journal publishes a large range of manuscript types including primary research, case studies and opinion articles. 

34. Science Immunology

Approx. Time to Publication: 3-4 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  8.160 (2019)
Open Access: No

Science Immunology publishes manuscripts from the broad field of immunology including validation of new tools and techniques. They cover research from basic to translational and clinical science. They focus on short articles that are published in a timely manner and can offer expedited review for papers needing quick assessment.

35. BMC Neuroscience

Approx. Time to Publication: 4 months
Acceptance rate:  ~27%
Impact factor:  2.620 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

BMC Neuroscience is an open access journal that covers all aspects of the nervous system with particular interest in animal model studies, cognitive and behavioral research as well as computational modeling.

36. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

Approx. Time to Publication: 4 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor: 4.504 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

As indicated by the title of this journal, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience focuses on understanding how aging alters the Central Nervous System. This multidisciplinary journal focuses on the integration of sub-disciplines of neuroscience and aims for translational approaches to aging diseases.

37. Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology

Approx. Time to Publication: 4 months
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  5.670 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology is focused on the clinical and pharmacological sciences in the treatment of cancer. The journal is open to all areas of oncology research, which encompasses a large variety of biomedical fields. Quick online publication makes this journal a good option for fast publication in the field of oncology.

38. Cell Reports/Cell Press

Approx. Time to Publication: 4 months
Acceptance rate: 24%
Impact factor: 7.815 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

Cell Reports considers articles from any topic in life sciences that provide “new biological insight”. They publish short reports and longer article formats. Cell Reports maintains a fairly prompt publication timeline, a wide scope and high impact factors making it a solid option for almost any topic in the biomedical sciences.

39. Annals of Biomedical Engineering

Approx. Time to Publication: 4-5 months
Acceptance rate: 25%
Impact factor: 3.630 (2019)
Open Access: Optional

The Annals of Biomedical Engineering journal has an interdisciplinary focus on the bioengineering and biomedical engineering fields. It is the official journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society and aims to use science and engineering to balance scientific observations and analysis. 

40. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: JCEM

Approx. Time to Publication:  4-5 months
Acceptance rate: ~20%
Impact factor: 5.605 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

JCEM accepts original research articles relating to clinical practices in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Virtually all types of manuscripts in these fields are accepted by this journal. The tight focus of this journal makes it an appealing option for timely publication of manuscripts in this field.

41. European Journal of Neuroscience

Approx. Time to Publication: 4-6 months
Acceptance rate:  ~75%
Impact factor:  2.832 (2019) 
Open Access: Optional

EJN is a generic neuroscience journal that publishes article in all aspects of the field. They strive for rapid publication after acceptance and do not reject articles based on what topics are currently fashionable or trending in the field.

42. BMC Genomics

Approx. Time to Publication: 4-6 months
Acceptance rate:  ~33%
Impact factor:  3.501 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

BMC Genomics is open access journal publishes articles that focus on genome-scale analysis, functional genomics and proteomics. It is has an average time to publication but has a good rate of acceptance at approximately 1/3 of submitted manuscripts.

43. PLOS ONE

Approx. Time to Publication: 6 months
Acceptance rate: 49%
Impact factor: 2.870 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

Even though PLOS ONE is on the longer side in terms of time to publication, it still made this list due to a high acceptance rate, open access and wide scope. PLOS ONE accepts original research from over 200 fields within science and medicine. Acceptance of articles is based on the rigor and ethical conduction of the work and less on the appeal of the research topic.

44. Nature Communications

Approx. Time to Publication: 6 months
Acceptance rate: ~38%
Impact factor:  11.878 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

Nature Communications is open to manuscripts within biology, health, physics, chemistry and Earth sciences. The journal’s main commitments are to quick publication and high-quality research.

45. International Journal of Public Health

Approx. Time to Publication: 6-7 months
Acceptance rate:  ~65%
Impact factor:  2.373 (2018) 
Open Access: Optional

The International Journal of Public Health reviews manuscripts that are relevant to public health worldwide and accepts publications from a large variety of countries and cultures.  The high acceptance rate and wide scope of this journal counteracts the relatively slow publication time.

BONUS! 6 Journals for Fast and High Impact Publication

46. Nature Microbiology

Approx. Time to Publication: 1-2 months
Acceptance rate: 9%
Impact factor:  11.780 (2019)
Open Access: Yes

Nature Microbiology publishes original research related to all aspects of microorganisms including evolution, physiology and cell biology. They are an online-only publication and their quick time to publication and impact is a great pull for top tier manuscripts. 

47. EMBO Reports

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate: ~15%
Impact factor: 8.300 (2018)
Open Access: Optional 

EMBO Reports focuses on research in the field of molecular biology but also accepts articles on issues involving science and society. This journal publishes both long and short reports. Even though publication time is fairly rapid, the acceptance rate of EMBO Reports is quite low.

48. Medical Education

Approx. Time to Publication: 2 months
Acceptance rate: 10%
Impact factor: 4.619 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

The Medical Education Journal is primarily an education research journal that accepts manuscripts in many forms. Of particular interest are articles that employ “empirical finding and conceptual grounding.” The prompt publication of articles and unique scope but low acceptance rate gave this journal a place in this bonus section.

49. Molecular Biology and Evolution

Approx. Time to Publication: 3 months (Fast Track: 1 week)
Acceptance rate: —
Impact factor:  14.797 (2018)
Open Access: Optional

Molecular Biology and Evolution publishes research that provides new insights into the molecular processes and changes due to evolution. This journal aims to provide evolutionary research tools through the articles it publishes including new theories or improved methods. Molecular Biology and Evolution also has a “Fast Track” option for faster publication. Manuscripts with the highest priority can be placed on this option are published online in one week. 

50. Science 

Approx. Time to Publication: 3 months
Acceptance rate: ~7%
Impact factor:  20.570 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

The journal Science publishes full research articles, reports, reviews and commentaries among virtually all fields in science. They seek to publish articles which have wide spread importance across multiple fields. This journal also has a “First Release” program available for faster online publication.

51. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: PNAS

Approx. Time to Publication: 5 months
Acceptance rate: 14%
Impact factor:  9.580 (2018)
Open Access: Yes

PNAS primarily publishes articles in the physical, social and biological sciences. The journal focuses on easy submission, independent peer review, quick online publication and flexible journal length. PNAS is a solid journal with a reasonable turnaround time but the low acceptance rate makes publishing with PNAS a rewarding challenge.

Conclusion

There you have it – 51 options for rapid publication of your research papers, reviews, case reports and more. If you need help with your writing, editing or submission, contact us for a quote.

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

30+ research tools to make your life easier

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. 

Introduction

COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, brought with it many changes to our daily lives, but one unexpected change for many people included a significant increase in Zoom video calls. Zoom has allowed people to maintain employment by working from home and staying connected during these trying times. But this rapid increase in the number of video calls that individuals have been required to participate in has resulted in “Zoom fatigue.” In other words, people are exhausted from these video calls. Of course, it’s not just Zoom — Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meets or Hangouts, WebEx and others can result in the same side effect. Why are these Zoom (and other) calls so tiring? What is causing this exhaustion? Here we will explore the psychological reasons why Zoom meetings cause fatigue, how Zoom affects the brain, and how you can manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Psychology of Zoom Fatigue

“Does anyone else just feel tired ALL THE TIME since working from home? I’m just perpetually exhausted,” writes one Twitter user, a PhD student from Cornell University. Why do we feel so drained after a Zoom meeting or call? Well, being on a video chat requires more focus than a face-to-face conversation does. This is partially because we have to work harder to decipher non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language. The silences that occur during a regular conversation also pose a problem when they occur during video chats. Dr. Gianpiero Petriglieri from Insead, a business school in France, tells BBC that, “Silence creates a natural rhythm in a real-life conversation. However, when it happens in a video call, you became anxious about the technology.” It also doesn’t help that oftentimes our technology (such as internet connections) lags behind a little bit. One 2014 study demonstrated that even small transmission delays during a teleconference call makes people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.

People also feel more self-conscious when they are on video calls. This is because, when on camera, people become hyper-aware of their own facial expressions, posture, movements, and breathing patterns. People also get confused about where to look when on a call. Do you look at the image of the person talking on the screen or stare at the webcam? These feelings of self-consciousness and a lack of eye contact may result in a conversation that feels artificial. On this very point, one Twitter user writers, “Zoom fatigue, for me, is starting at my face and thinking…why are you making that stupid face.”

During live video conference calls, research suggests that our viewing behavior does in fact change. A recent 2020 study found that when people believed they were watching a live video call they were more likely to look at the on-screen image of the speaker. In other words, they were trying to maintain a sense of eye contact. However, when these study participants thought they were viewing a recorded video, they looked away more and looked at other parts of the screen, such as the speaker’s mouth. Overall, the results from this study suggest that we are more self-conscious of our actions when we believe we are being watched. The presence of another human being (or the perceived presence) evokes our sense of ‘self’ and results in a cascade of psychological processes, including shame. For example, one source of embarrassment can be thoughts about whether or not one’s background look good or professional enough.

Your Brain on Zoom

One critical brain region that’s involved when you are on Zoom calls is an area called the frontal cortex. This region is crucial for information processing and attention. During a Zoom meeting, your frontal cortex has to work extra hard to put together all of the verbal and non-verbal cues you are receiving during the call. Additionally, when you have to hyper-focus on deciphering missing information (such as lost social cues) your brain works harder to fill in the gaps. This takes cognitive energy and tires you out more quickly than a normal conversation or meeting.

So, if Zoom calls cause stress, what does a stressed brain look like? When a stress response first starts, cortisol (the primary “stress” hormone) is released from your adrenal glands. Excessive amounts of cortisol feedback into the brain, particularly at the level of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the primary memory center of the brain. Repeated or chronic stress can even lead to memory impairments and a reduced drive for rewards. Stress can also impair activity within the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that is, as mentioned above, so crucial for Zoom calls. Essentially, stress from Zoom can lead to MORE stress from Zoom.

Stress Management

While Zoom and other video call platforms create their own set of stressors, this fatigue is likely also a result of other sources of stress in our lives. Let’s face it, the current circumstances (lockdown, quarantine, working from home, spousal unemployment) also play a role. Dr. Petriglieri agreed with this sentiment, and he went on to tell the BBC, “The video call is our reminder of the people we have lost temporarily. It is the distress that every time you see someone online, such as your colleagues, that reminds you we should really be in the workplace together…we are all exhausted; It does not matter whether they are introverts or extroverts. We are experiencing the same disruption of the familiar context during the pandemic.”

During stressful times such as these, it is important to review ways to manage our stress levels. Even when stress seems out of control, there are things you can do to help build your own resilience. Managing your everyday stress levels can potentially reduce Zoom fatigue. Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining wellness:

  • Exercise – regular exercise promotes healthy brain function and helps our bodies deal with stress more efficiently
  • Maintain a positive attitude – even during difficult times, keeping a positive attitude can reduce negative emotions; this is easier said than done perhaps, but one thing you can do is remind yourself what things you can influence within your life and focus on those things, rather than waste time and energy on concerns that you have absolutely no control over
  • Meditate or pray – one stress-relieving form of meditation is called ‘mindfulness meditation’ and involves practicing awareness and acceptance
  • Set limits and boundaries – know your limits and then set them with other people; practice saying ‘no’
  • Make time for your hobbies – don’t forget to engage in activities you find enjoyable, such as painting or poetry
  • Sleep and eat right – sleep also promotes brain health, as well as memory function, and a healthy diet is a critical component of general well-being
  • Maintain your social network – keep up on your friendships and relationships with your family; don’t isolate yourself – if you are too burned out to video call someone, a simple text (or even a hand-written letter!) can go a long way
  • Seek wellness treatment – sometimes we need to seek help from a professional such as a psychologist or wellness counselor; it is healthy and normal to seek treatment
  • Supplements – there are so many supplements that help with energy, stress relief, focus, mood and relaxation so use some of the suggestions below based on your needs

Supplements for energy include B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, Coenzyme Q10, creatine, citrulline, beetroot powder and tyrosine. Another way to boost energy is by taking supplements at night to alleviate insomnia and promote better sleep. These include melatonin, Valerian root, magnesium, kava kava, chamomile and lavender.

Supplements for stress relief include ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus, L-theanine, vitamin E, magnesium, glycine, vitamins A, C and D, GABA and 5-HTP.

Some supplements for focus and concentration include phosphatidylserine (PS), gingko biloba, bacopa, fish oil, resveratrol, acetyl L-carnitine and S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe)

Integrating some of these suggestions into your daily routine can decrease stress and increase overall wellness. A less stressed individual will be a less burned out individual, and this can potentially lead to less Zoom fatigue.

Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance

On Twitter one person writes, “Finding it incredibly hard to focus right now. #limbo #needPTO #WorkLifeBalance #timeoff #burnout.” This user is right, work-life balance is critical. You can help to reduce stress and fatigue by creating a balance between your work life and private life. Work-life balance speaks to one of the points in the section above: set limits and know when to say no. One thing you can learn to say ‘no’ to is back-to-back meetings. Avoiding these back-to-back Zoom calls is one way to help maintain some balance in your life and reduce burnout. Here are some other tips for creating a healthy work-life balance:

  • Set priorities ­– Identify the priorities in your life; rank them
  • Keep track of the time you spend working – Keeping track of time can prevent you from overworking yourself
  • Concentrate on one task at a time – Forget multitasking and focus on one task at a time for maximum efficiency
  • Respect your private and family time – Don’t forget to make time for both you and your family
  • Ask for support or assistance – Tell your boss or supervisor when you are struggling to maintain a balance; make a plan, and then tell your boss what that plan is and stick to it

Yet another person on Twitter writes, “Seeing less and less people on #Zoom with their video turned on lately. #zoom fatigue is real.” But they have a good point. Another way you can reduce the stress of video calls is to turn the camera portion off, but leave your audio on. This can relieve some of the stress by causing less anxiety about how you look on camera. You can also reduce some stress associated with Zoom calls by dedicating a specific spot in your house for making these calls.

Conclusions

Zoom and other video calls shouldn’t be abandoned completely even though they do cause fatigue. In fact, recent research shows that video calls reduce social isolation and loneliness in older adults. There are other benefits to video calls, such as the ability to maintain employment from home. However, we need to learn how to allocate our time more carefully and manage stress levels in order to reduce video call burnout. Remember that Zoom fatigue is a psychological phenomenon (as is stress, for that matter) and it can be overcome.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and share. To have an article like this written for your website, contact us.

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.

This year, our team has expanded significantly to meet our clients’ needs. We will continue expanding to service a new Army contract we were recently awarded and an NIH contract we were awarded last year. Our new federal contract with the DoD Army MEDCOM is a 4-year contract for providing grant and manuscript writing and editing support. It is specifically to help the researchers at the Brooke Army Medical Center.

That means we now have additional subject matter experts along with our expanded capacity. Take a look at our About Us page to see information on our newer team members:

http://themedwriters.com/about-us/

Take advantage of our additional expertise and capacity. Let us know if you have any upcoming or ongoing projects we can help you with. We happy to get on a call or video chat to bring our teams’ expertise and experience in solving your challenges.

The Med Writers is a federal 8(a) and EDWOSB certified firm, allowing us to receive sole-source awards up to $4M. We are also a MOSB, WOSB, and SDB. Our team of Ph.D. scientists and doctors write and edit grant website content, proposals, manuscripts, articles, systematic reviews, white papers, presentations, slide decks, posters and more. Most of those types of projects are in the NAICS code 541990: all other professional, scientific and technical services. We also write articles, blog posts, press releases plus other types of web content, which can be in the NAICS code 541820: public relations agencies.

The federal agencies we currently serve as prime federal contractors include the Department of Health and Human Services (specifically NIH) and the Department of Defense (specifically Army MEDCOM). We are open to working with other agencies and offices as prime or sub.

Our company is happy to bid on contracts as prime or sub and are open to teaming arrangements, joint ventures, mentor-protege, and other agreements. We work in many additional NAICS codes that are not listed above. Please contact us to discuss your federal contracting or subcontracting needs.

 

Every healthcare marketing executive knows the value of good content and plans to invest in more content for their organization. Yet, knowing how to create that good content is so elusive for most of them. To help with that, here are some simple strategies for creating good healthcare content that gets traffic. This isn’t just the same old strategy of sharing other people’s content. This is the stuff that gets pages to the top of Google searches.

Healthcare marketing hack #1: Repurpose old content

Every piece of content doesn’t have to brand new. Look at your analytics and see which pages have gotten the most traffic. These are the topics that your audience is most interested in. Take the info on those pages and try for instance to:

  • rewrite it into new articles
  • summarize it into an infographic
  • expand it into a white paper or free report
  • create social media posts based on it.

Healthcare marketing hack #2: Answer patients’ questions and complaints

Most healthcare organizations have a system for patients to submit feedback. Access that feedback that has been submitted and use it as topics for new content. Email your patient database with a survey asking what healthcare questions they have that they would like answered and then use those questions as topics for new content.

Healthcare marketing hack #3: Make simple videos

When most healthcare marketing executives think of videos, they envision having expensive videographers shooting and editing a video. While those polished advertisements are nice, that’s not what I’m talking about here. Something interesting or groundbreaking happens in your organization every day. For example, doctors are trying new techniques, seeing rare diseases, curing diseases and healing sick people. Secondly, they are also giving seminars, lectures, presentations, and classes. Thirdly, patients want to tell their stories of how they were seen, healed or counseled. Record clips of it all on your smartphone, edit with free software like Microsoft Movie Maker or iMovie and post it on your organization’s blog. Just be cognizant of patient privacy laws when recording patients. So, be sure to have any patients you record sign a consent and release form.

Hopefully, these ideas were helpful. But if your marketing department needs some help with creating content or a content strategy, please contact us.

What can you do to drive more traffic to your site? We all know about the value of SEO, but did you know that having a doctor review and approve your content actually helps with Google rank? That’s right, Google likes to see that a doctor was the author of your content.

A doctor review doesn’t just help with Google rank though. It gives your website credibility. People need to know that what they are reading came from a trustworthy source, someone who knows what they are talking about. Having a doctor as author does that.

Here at The Med Writers we have several doctoral biomedical scientists and medical doctors that are well qualified to provide a doctor review of your health-related content and be listed as author.

Our doctor reviews include the following:

  1. Fact checking – we will go through your content to make sure that all of the information is correct. We won’t just rely on our own knowledge, but will also check the latest studies to make sure that your content is accurate and current
  2. Adding references – we will add in-text citations and a reference list to back up and add weight to the statements made on your website
  3. Making changes where necessary – if we find information that is incorrect, we will rewrite it so that it is correct
  4. Proofreading – since we are going through your content anyway, as a bonus we will fix any spelling or grammar issues as we go. If we feel that there are other ways to improve the general readability and effectiveness of your content, we will let you know.

Once we are finished with the doctor review, we will provide the name and credentials of the writer that did the review, so that you can list the doctor as the author of your content.

What if you don’t have a website yet? If you are just starting to build your website and are looking for a doctor to write your content from scratch, we can do that as well. We aren’t just doctors, we are also a team of professional writers; therefore, whether you need a doctor review of existing content, or need content written from scratch by a doctor, we’ve got you covered.

Please contact us today to see how a doctor review can help improve your Google rank and add credibility to your website.