good medical writing is: avoid “fancy talk.”

This week’s advice for good medical writing is: avoid “fancy talk.”


. . .   “ology” refers to the study of something.  Thus, etiology, strictly is the study of cause and is not the cause.  So, “The etiology of diabetes is ……” is fancy talk.  Better: “The “cause of diabetes is …….”

       “The patient’s symptomatology was/were headache, fever, nausea.”  Better: “The patient’s symptoms were headache, fever, nausea.” 

        “The methodology used in this paper was/were . . .” Better: “The methods used in this paper were. . . “

        “Utilized” is overused.  Thus, “We utilized colonoscopy to examine the colon” should be, “We used colonoscopy to examine the colon.” 

         Authors often use fancy talk in an attempt to appear intellectually sophisticated. That’s a mistake.  


  • An IMES-edited article from the Emergency Department of the University of California Davis has been published: Sutter ME, Wintenute GJ. Clarke SO, et al. The changing use of intravenous opioids in an emergency department. West J Emerg Med 2015 Dec; 16(7):1079-83. 


  • An IMES-edited article from the Emergency Department of The University of California Davis on an alarming outbreak of exaggerated opioid toxicity caused by adulterated tablets purchased on the street as hydrocodone/acetaminophen has recently appeared: Sutter MD, Gerona R, Davis MT, et al. Fatal fentanyl: one pill can kill. Acad Emerg Med. 2016 Jun 20. doi: 10.1111/acem.13034. [Epub ahead of print]






  • An IMES-edited paper from the 2d University Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hippokration General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece, has been published recently: Daniilidis A, Koutsos J, Okonomou Z, et al. Cytokines of cervical mucosa and human papilloma virus infection of the cervix: a descriptive study. Acta Cytol 2016;60(1):58-64


  • IMES has edited three very impressive articles from the Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Ministry of Health of Russia, concerning environmental pathogens in Russia. The most recently published article is by Voronina O, Kunda M, and Aksenova EI, et al. The characteristics of ubiquitous and unique Leptospira strains from the collection of Russian centre for leptospirosis. Biomed Res Int 2014;2014:649034.