Who are you again?

DrugMonkey has revived a blog meme that originated with uber science writer Ed Yong. It is basically a request for readers to "de-lurk". On any blog, the majority of readers never comment, and the people who do comment tend to so over and over again.

Writers are inherently narcissistic. As bloggers we can get an idea of how many people are reading us, but not that much else.

So for the sake of the community, I'd like to ask you all, without revealing any important identifying information, who you are. Just leave a comment, even if you never have before. Don't worry about the email address requirement. That isn't visible publicly and you can always use a dummy address, such as none@none.com. Be anonymous or not.

I'd be interested to know many of the same things that DrugMonkey and Ed want to know. Do I know you IRL? Why do you read this blog? Do you have an interest in medicine, writing, journalism, or nothing in particular?

Throw me a bone here.

More like this

You do not know me, although relatively speaking, I think we aren't that far apart in the physical realm.

I enjoy your blog because it gives me something to talk to my boyfriend about. He's in public health, so a lot of the issues you tackle on your blog are the same issues he's facing in his field.

I don't have a direct interest in medicine, but since it overlaps with physiology at some points, I tolerate it. ;)

Okay, bone tossed. We have met IRL...at Gr. Lakes Homeland Security Conference

I read you because as a scientist (well, grad student), I'm aware of a lot of the issues you discuss, but usually from a very different perspective. You always get me thinking, either about a familiar issue from a new place or a brand new issue. And you're direct without being a jack-ass. I appreciate that.

I think my interest is mostly in the medicine and the practice of medicine (including education/training). I enjoy the discussions of the public health side, i.e., medical woo, standards of practice, epidemiology certainly. I also like the topics of the weird and woolly that you take on.

What I suspect I find most unique, thought provoking and engaging is when you visibly grapple with improving yourself as a doctor. The stuff about how you view the drug dependent / abuser patient is the example of the type. Other med bloggers don't really talk about this part of the job that much.

Oh and yes, we have met IRL. Good times!

I read for the interesting medical stories and anti-woo propoganda. We've probably never met IRL unless you go to ASH on a regular basis but are probably separated by at most 2 people.

Erm... Hi! I wandered over here from Movin' Meat, and I forget how I got there. I'm a basic science researcher, so I read Science Based Medicine and similar, and I like the way it reminds me that what I do sometimes looks different to people who work on more complicated systems. Like, say, people.

I like medical stories, science-based medicine thinking, and the practical side of medicine.

@Dianne, given how much time I spent on the HemeOnc wards at NU, and the fact that I almost did a fellowship, yeah, 2 is pushing it.

I've comment before and I've been reading for awhile. I guess you'd say I'm on the other side of the desk - I'm a patient who wanted to get a peek into what going on on the physician's side and their thoughts on dealing with patients. I think it's important for doctors to understand the frustrations that some proplr (I'm think of those with chronic illnesses) live with.

You don't know me personally. I encountered this blog when googling myself and came across PubSub's "rationality" feed which listed both of our blogs. I am interested in medicine but my primary interest is in consumer protection and I take a keen interest in folks who go out and debunk quacks-medicine and anti-science conspiracy theories and the like. I also find myself, embarrassingly, drawn in by various outbreaks of drama which crop up among science blogs.

Hi, Pal and other Scienceblogs lurkers! :) I occasionally post comments under the 'nym "Perky Skeptic," though I rarely touch my poor, neglected blog anymore. Mainly, art and child-rearing takes up my time, as I have a wonderful, amazing elementary-school-age boy with ASD, who continually quizzes me on the Periodic Table of the Elements. :)

I'm a science fiction and fantasy illustrator who does paintings for book covers and roleplaying games and such, but I got my first taste of life as an art professional by doing scientific illustrations of plants while I was working on an MS in plant physiology. It was a dream come true, and I've never looked back! However, I retain my passion for science and for conveying the pure AWESOME of the world around us which science allows us to understand!

We've never met IRL, though I've met some of your fellow SBM bloggers at DragonCon (which I encourage everyone to attend, as it's a lot of fun!). I love science and thus read quite a few ScienceBlogs, and I love medical blogs and thus read a lot of doctor and nurse blogs. I can truly say that reading blogs written by doctors has directly helped me overcome a fear of hospitals, doctors, and so-called "Western medicine" in general, which was inculcated deeply into me by my woo-filled upbringing.

The reason *your* blog, out of the whole wide internet, is a regular stop for me is your gift for presenting your topics in a conversational tone that makes me feel like you're chatting with your readers as friends at the kitchen table over a nice cup of coffee (er... decaf? :)). Your compassion, your perspective as an internist, father, and ethicist, and your devotion to applying science and reason to your practice for the betterment of your patients' care all comes through in your writing. That's what keeps me coming back for another cup every day!

By Perky Skeptic (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

I don't know if I've commented before. (I'm old. Very old.)

I've had an interest in medicine for a long time. Never actually worked in a medical field though I've been a hospice volunteer for some years.

In addition to this blog, the other medical blogs I read are Movin Meat, ER Stories, Frontal Cortex, StoryTellERdoc, and my favorite, Other Things Amanzi (written by a surgeon in So. Africa.)

By CanadaGoose (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

Yes, that's really my name.

Why? Because the world is infinitely fascinating. Sometimes including medical topics (volunteer first responder) and sometimes because we both have unbearably wonderful daughters. Quoth Heinlein: "little girls, like kittens, need no excuse."

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

hello! I don't usually comment, so obviously I had to on this one. I found this blog through recommendations on my reader. I'm in the medical field and often I appreciate your take or musings on particular subjects. So, thanks! And no, we haven't met. :-)

I'm a first-year medical student in Pennsylvania. This blog has been surprisingly useful in shaping the way I think about medicine. I'm a huge fan (but a total lurker). Keep it up!

I found your site over a year ago after I confronted Patricia Fitzgerald (and DUllman)in the comments section over a HuffPo for their level of BURNING STUPID and was trying to get more info on her.

Your blog and others on your blogroll has restored some hope for my fellow human beings.

Visit here most every day

By locutus13 (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

We haven't met IRL yet, but I have met David Gorski and Kimball Atwood at conferences. Also, I got my B.A. and J.D. at University of Michigan, and my husband (also a Michigan alum) grew up in Grand Haven, so I have a close connection to Michigan. My daughter and I are going to Grand Haven next month to visit her grandfather.

By Marilyn Mann (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

I think I found my way over here from reading pharyngula. I'm very interested in evidenced-based and science-based medicine, although I am not a medical professional. My boyfriend is a physician's assistant who works in internal medicine so I often send him links to your posts that I know he will find interesting (he doesn't really read blogs). Actually, just recently I sent him your blog post about medicare reimbursement. You do not know me IRL.

We don't know each other IRL. I've been reading you for some time now, and I don't remember how I came across your blog. I am glad I did however :) I like what you have to say in just about every subject, especially the anti-woo. I'm a Director of Nursing of a 120 bed SNF that specializes in short term rehab. Keep doing what you're doing--you're a big success in my book.

First time commenter, although I've been reading this blog for quite a while.

I've always had a fascination with medicine, although I went years without actually seeing a doctor. Then a couple of years ago I developed some pesky sinus issues, which unfortunately led to some even more pesky anxiety issues. It took over a year and three doctors to fully figure things out. I think I can understand how some people get sucked into woo, because out of frustration I started doing a bunch of internet searching. Fortunately, rather than finding it compelling, I was more astounded at the sheer amount of crap information out there. While I didn't find any miracle cures, I'm glad I did it, because it ultimately led me here as well as to some other fascinating blogs.

My job is in media monitoring (more specifically consumer magazines) and I can't begin to tell you how much bad reporting about health and medicine I see there as well. I love that there are places like this bringing a little reality to world.

As someone who has made sporadic attempts at writing in the past, I really appreciate the work it takes to keep a blog like this up and running and interesting on such a regular basis. I think you do a great job.

I check in here most days. I practice palliative care and geriatrics. Have changed internet names twice, mostly because I don't care for either death threats or people contacting my employers. Still not really sure how you can put up with it. Don't know if I've posted here under this pseudonym. Used to be active on Health Fraud listserv under my real name. On a daily basis, I also read Orac, Pharyngula, Panda's Thumb, Ed Brayton, and youaredumb.net (liberal politics mixed with geekiness and combined with anger and foul language).

I've been reading your blog most days (not always) since you came to SciBlogs. I particularly like posts that deliberate thoughtfully over problems or dilemmas. I'm afraid I have little patience with acrimonious controversies, but I've only rarely had to tune out when the shouting got too loud.

Mostly stay-at-home mom, but have now started nursing school. I read you because you keep it real, giving me a glimpse into the world of the primary practice folk.

I came here via SBM (I think) where I always knew that "PalMD" would have a useful comment. Or maybe it was RI--wherever you regularly commented as PalMD.

I love science of medicine and the human body, how much we know, and how little we know. I love the variety that constitutes the human species. We are all so different, and so very similar. I'm also interested in skepticism and critical thinking.

By Diane-with-one-N (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a fellow physician, although I wasted my residency years on Family Medicine. I discovered your blog through Orac's and find your musings interesting. I'm older and, I guess, a little more cynical than you about patient care. Fortunately for us all, I'll be retiring in a couple of years.


I like to think I was there at the beginning, which would be 4th frost.

Hi! Found you through your post about Chopra being a delusional idiot. I am in GME administration, and my family is a woo-filled bunch. So I turn to you for ammo and solace on the one hand, but I also really enjoy your posts on educating residents.

We've met once, when I was interviewing for residency at your hospital. I'm a newly minted MD (the ink is still wet on the diploma, I swear), just started my internship in emergency med at generic major research university in generic midwestern state.

I came for the anti-woo from Orac's blog somewhere around third year of med school and stayed for the thoughts on the practice of medicine.

I hope it's going well, WcT. If I manage to make it your way on my summer travels, let me buy you a sandwich...not just any sandwich though. You'll know the place.

I'm a veterinary student, interested in public health, public policy, science-based medicine, and ethics.
I haven't found any particularly relevant veterinary blogs - not too surprising, since I think there are fewer practicing veterinarians in the whole country than there are lawyers in Washington, DC.
I read a bunch of medical-related blogs, and frequently muse to myself about how strange it is that physicians so totally ignore veterinary medical issues so much of the time, when the converse is not at all true.

@WcT - Taking a wild stab here, but if you are where I think you are, we are not THAT generic! :) Welcome!

Hi, just now found you because of the Garrison Keillor article in January. A retired math and science teacher, I have an interest in medicine. The older I get, the more interest I have!

Many moons ago I came to Scienceblogs through a link on Snopes.

Many more moons ago I made the only New Years resolution I would ever keep - I had 2 small children and nearly no adult conversation - that is to read more non-fiction.

So despite no science course past high school, I dip my toes into sciencey stuff on the internet. Why do I like your blog in particular? Probably I like your "voice" and the variety.

Hi PalMD:

I am a frequent reader, less frequent commenter. I am a nutritional physiologist who focuses primarily on childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. I come here because the topics often interest me and I like to read perspectives from physicians and other health care providers.



I work for a county HD. I have no medical background (I'm the bioterrorism & public health planner. Try getting that on a business card). I come here and to other science blogs because you guys explain things in which I am interested but lack the necessary training to research on my own.

And although I get a little tired at the organized-religion-bashing on some of them, I consider them/you a trustworthy source.


I'm looking forward to it :). So far so good, but my first actual shift isn't until the 7th.


I find skepvet to be a decent veterinary blog.

Shoot me an email at whitecoattales at gmail . com and we can confirm that guess

Thanks for the warm welcome either way :-D


...how strange it is that physicians so totally ignore veterinary medical issues so much of the time, when the converse is not at all true.

It happens that today I was sitting next to a guy talking about chemotherapy treatments for osteosarcoma, which is a cancer far more frequent in dogs than in humans. He said that for humans they qualify as "orphan drugs". It could be that, just for a change, humans with this disease get the benefit of research, development and manufacturing done primarily for the sake of dogs.

I work in the corporate world, nothing related to science. I'm 47 years old. I started college as a journalism major, inspired by the investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein which helped insure that there would be accountability for Watergate. However, after my first few years in college I was concerned that I might end up stuck at small town newspapers making $35k a year and decided to major in economics and go to MBA school.

In my late 20's I read a review of Gould's "Bully for Brontasauras." That led to me reading lots of natural history. I followed medical technology and pharmaceutical breakthroughs in the Wall Street Journal. I was fascinated by the development of SSRI's, and of statins, and of technology for minimally invasive surgery.

So here I am in middle age, still in the corporate world, but reading medical blogs, the various science blog blogs and natural history books in my spare time.

Because of these interests I'm the "go to" person in my family and circle of friends on medical issues. They know I love to do research and am effective at finding the legitimate sources of info on illnesses and treatments.

If I won the lottery I'd become a freelance science and medicine journalist.

By Texas Reader (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm from (and in) India and I work in software, so no we have not met IRL. I read your blog, SBM, Orac, Pharyngula etc. regularly because of my interest in anti-woo, and the medical blogs especially because I find medicine fascinating. Keep up the good work!

Do I know you IRL? Nope.
Why do you read this blog? I like keeping my eye on Science, to keep from being blind-sided by it.
Do you have an interest in medicine, writing, journalism, or nothing in particular? Sciences in general, though I actually comprehend better when it's a biology-related science. WRT medicine, it's interesting to get a glimpse of the view from the other side of the stethiscope, as it were. Your blogbits have often surprised me, and given me something to think about.

I arrived here via Orac or Pharyngula, cannot recall which. I'm interested in quack and woo busting, medicine generally(Mom was an RN who taught me a lot about how to be a good patient and self-advocate), and science.

I'm also a medically intractable epileptic, chewing over whether or not to pursue brain surgery, which I am told is the only thing left that may offer me relief, if I qualify. Testing may begin in the fall.

I believe I have commented in just one thread, about narcotics contracts, since I am subject to one for chronic back pain from injury. I was pleased to see you fairly recently revisited the subject, and I appreciate that you are honest about your opinions and reasoning for the things that you do.

I stop by here at least three times a week, sometimes daily, dysfunctional brain permitting. :)

By Fallsroad (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

I comment here rarely, but do read the posts (and follow along on Twitter). I've been reading for over a year. This is one of about 6 ScienceBlogs that I read on a regular basis. I'm a 45-year-old science junkie, though not employed in a scientific field.

How's that?

I read your blog and the other scienceblogs because I am transitioning from strictly computer programming to computational biology and wish to learn more about general STEM developments rather than just being a code monkey :)

I think I wandered over from SBM ages ago. I read regularly because I'm fascinated by the intersection of science and culture, and especially how culture and epidemiology interact. Your conversation tone is inviting, and you render complex topics very accessible. I hope you don't find my comments too tiresome. I live in Wyoming.

I'm a pre-med undergraduate student. I like your blog because it's very concerned with "epi-medicine": the things that go on in culture around the actual biomedical treatment of diseases. While I love physiology and pathology, I think that the way the public engages scientific medicine (and vice versa) is fascinating and of utmost importance.

I am fellow physician living on the other hemisphere, in a small European country. I am working as a primary care practitioner and university lecturer. I have enjoyed reading PalMD-s blog(s) already for several years. I found the blog incidentally but since then have visitied it intentionally almost daily basis - it is inspiring and well-written.

I can't remember how I found my way here--maybe pharyngula--but I'm interested in medicine and the intersection between society and science.

Recent reader, medical technician background with keen interest in all things rational. You are that!

I read as I enjoy your approach to some of the non-science aspects of medicine. And reports from the front-line. Came via Orac.

I don't work in medicine or any related fields; I'm a engineering researcher who just finds science and medicine fascinating. Been reading for 2+ years, occasionally commenting something insubstantial.

Came here from SBM. Had my last day as faculty in a FM residency program in the PNW and will be going to work for the county instead. I find myself reading for the thoughts on the art and practice of medicine the most. We haven't met IRL inker you were at Interlochen about 20 years ago.

First-year grad student in environmental microbiology (as of September.) My partner put me on to Scienceblogs a couple of years ago and I go through posts in my feedreader when I have time. Means I don't pick up on every post from every blog, but it'd a good overview and I enjoy yours because it gives me a perspective on a field (medicine) that is not particularly close to my own.

By sixthlight (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hi! I'm an Australian software developer, but very interested in skepticism. I probably got here through the SBM or Orac. Probably been reading for 8-10 months.

Long time reader, first time poster.

I'm an optometrist, mainly in the hopsital eye service, and vision scientist based in the UK.

Think I first came to your blog following a link in the "blogging on peer reviewed research" section.

I check in with a lot of science blogs but have found that a lot of the UK medical bloggers have gone silent of late.

I'm a very occasional commenter and regular reader for... Can't remember quite how long. We don't know each other IRL.

I am a documentary writer/producer in Canada. I originally found scienceblogs when I was researching a project on creationism (development only, sadly never made it into production), and have been spellunking around the blogs here ever since. I'm particularly interested in alternative medicine and woo right now.

I'm also nosy and a parent of two daughters, so I'm always interested in other peoples' perspectives on childrearing and day to day life with family. So that's where I tend to comment.


Near-daily reader, but never commented here (or most other places; I'm an equal-opportunity antisocial lurker, and rarely feel driven to post).

I'm a skeptic, former medical lab tech, also was an EMT for a while, did my postgrad work in chemistry. We've never met. I found you when you first came to the SciBorg, here. Your blog has an unusual composition; skeptical posts, science-based posts, medical topics, personal introspection, the occasional Scibling kerfluffle involvement...

This might be my favorite sciblog just for that diversity, and I skim about 20 or so here a day, just under the Seed umbrella (introverts have the free time for this sort of thing). You have a few really good regular commenters, too- that's a lucky break for your readers (I happen to think Orac and Ed Brayton are similarly blessed, but very few others).

And that's probably the most I've posted to a blog in two years, so I'm done. Keep up the good work!

I'm a long time lurker. I'm a physician working in private practice. I have been seing an increase in patients who seek out alternative treatments or who take OTC herbal products. At the same time, I am seeing an increase in patients' resistance to taking prescription medications. They kind of lump all meds together and think they must all be dangerous somehow. It's really frustrating, especially when I can offer something that really will help them, but which they refuse because their naturopath told them something different.

So, I appreciate your woo-busting and also enjoy reading your take on practice of medicine and medical training.

I'm a 58 year old male and exploration earth scientist living in the UK. I'm a rational, atheistic, scientific naturalist and strongly anti-woo of all kinds.

I've been reading for a while, and I comment now and then. I'm a Canadian, working in government regulation of health. I probably started reading here while I was still doing statistical work on health indicators, but nowadays I am involved in regulation of drugs. My undergrad studies were in psychology and mathematics, and my master's was in neuroscience. We haven't met.

As a father (of a 7, 4, 3 and 1 year old) I like reading about your experiences in the rewarding business of being a dad. I'm also very anti-woo, and enjoy your writing on the subject of various quackeries. Also, since I was working in blood, tissues, organs and vaccines when H1N1 was in the spotlight I appreciated your coverage of the issues. I'm a skeptic and I've been thinking of trying to move to the Natural Health Product Directorate (I'm still in biolgics), to perhaps have a chance to influence policy/regulation of these products.

By Epinephrine (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a 26 year old female student/researcher in human language processing. I have a non-professional interest in ethics and medicine, stemming in part from my own experience as a patient. this is one of the several blogs I always take care to read.

I'm a semi-regular reader, 45 years old, female. I've been fascinated with science since I was a kid, so scienceblogs is one of my favorite browsing sites. About 10 years ago my husband got a liver transplant (primary sclerosing cholangitis), and since then medicine became much more interesting. I enjoy your writing style, you tell stories very well.

Middle-aged female psychiatrist, came via Sciblogs. I enjoy the mix of commentary, science and narrative. I liked your canoe profile picture, although the current one shows your face better. I visit a lot of science (mainly neuroscience) and medicine blogs--never have any comments. We've never met.

I am a 50+ male with some health concerns. Started reading health blogs to understand the issues better. I was reading Orac until I got fed up of the constant rhetoric in his blogs. I should tell you that I am a skeptic (but not a cynic) and realize that few people can be convinced of anything through debate. After all, the very best of any profession are faithful believers of what they grew up with. My interest is in understanding the medical advances which unfortunately are very confusing. I am still unsure if sat fats are okay or not :)

Going by the comments on this post so far, I am probably not one of your typical readers (I don't read orac anymore as I don't need to beat up the woo-doers). Frankly, I don't know how much longer I will be reading your blog. What you seem to like blogging about and what I am interested in reading, intersect only slightly. But, thanks for asking and giving the readers to uncloak themselves.

Hi Pal!

I've commented a few times, but we've never met IRL (although it would be fun). I'm a former secretary & pharmacy technician turned accountant/auditor who was scared out of becoming a doctor by the craziness of residency (I knew in high school that I couldn't hack that).

Found you via your prior stint on SciBlogs tthrough Orac, I think, and keep coming back because you're a darn good writer.

I'm an atheist, a skeptic and an arthritic, so you can imagine my frustration with woo, bullshit and indifferent doctors (fortunately I have the best of the best right now and I dread their retirement). Obviouly I'm Canadian, female and I'm married but happily childfree. I also sing in a klezmer band, just to keep things interesting

By CanadianChick (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I've commented before, though infrequently. You don't know me. I read mostly for the posts about countering pseudoscience.

By Lycanthrope (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hi Pal,

I'm one of your younger readers. Just finished undergrad and submitting my med school apps in the next few days. I started reading med blogs in the down time at my lab while waiting for gels to run. I read out of interest and because I enjoy hearing the opinions of current practitioners.

I am usually a lurker.
Don't remember how I found your blog but I enjoy science, thoughfulness, politics among other things. You deal with each, so my interest in your blog continues.
I characterize myself as a knowledge junkie.
I enjoy learning.
Spouse and both children are living with serious chronic illnesses.
Doubt that we have met IRL (but would enjoy meeting you and your family) but I have lived in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest (currently on the east coast).
Know people who went to Northwestern U and Med School (and some who are teaching at the med school as well as working at the hospital).

I am a veterinarian with an interest in how to critically approach the woo that is entrenching itself in my profession. I was at TAM last year, and met some of your colleagues, and will be there again next week. I also enjoy and appreciate your posts on the human and ethical practice of medicine.

Undergrad working on a Journalism Major with a Natural Sciences expertise (and maybe minor(s)/a second major in a specific field). I like science, I like writing, so I decided I would like to advance the public understanding of science with my writing skills.

I lurk all over SB, including here. This is a blog I enjoy. I'm an English Lit student who suffers from innumeracy. I love the sciences, especially bio, but I've always felt my lack of basic maths skills would prevent me being a *good enough* scientist to satisfy myself. What you, and other bloggers do, is invaluable to me. You make a world accessible to me that I cannot quite grasp alone.

Thank you.

By Matty Smith (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I read your blog postings to Science Based Med and as many of the other writers as I can get to, and enjoy them hugely- but I do mostly lurk, having found that most of my intended comments are usually stated better- more cogently, more succintly, and more carefully, than I would probably manage to do. I am 62, mostly retired, once a freelance writer of feature stories for general readership and some science articles for young readers.

By nancy brownlee (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I have been a regular reader for the last year or so, and I got into science, medicine, and skepticism blogs about two years ago when I decided I wanted to change my direction in life completely and go from sociology (my then in progress, now completed BA) to medicine. Your writing is always thought-provoking, interesting, and inspiring to me, and I hope someday when I have some expertise to share I can join the world of skeptical doc bloggers. You are my favourite of the bunch though (and this is not just flattery) because your style is so intimate, personable, and self-reflective. I love hearing about your family, coffee addiction, and work-life balance struggles as much as your insightful reflections on medicine and woo.

I just found out a month ago that I will be attending medical school in Ontario, my home province and one of the most outrageously competitive places for medical admissions in the world, and I attribute my sanity and motivation through this difficult process at least in part to the inspiration I get from your blog. Thank you!

If I recall correctly, I wandered in here either from browsing ScienceBlogs or from a link from Dr. Free-Ride. I'm a college student living in Alabama (Chemistry & Math & Biology minor, so I like The Science). I'm interested in health and medicine (having Cystic Fibrosis will do that to you), and I like your blend of science, medicine, and coffee porn. (Yeah, that post. Coffee porn.)

Lurking for the last year or so--I'm a heme/onc doc, came via SB, here for the medical stories/SBM/anti-woo/daddy stuff (I have the sweetest two little girls in the history of little girls, but I may have observer bias). I get my skepticism fix from PZ and Orac, snark and feminism from Isis and Pandagon, and lefty politics from lots of places. Thanks for writing!

By ZenHousecat (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a graphic artist/designer in Vermont, past 60, with a longtime interest in the sciences. We've not met. I read several science, medical and political blogs daily, including this one; I probably found my way here via Pharyngula or SBM. I seldom comment anywhere, and I don't think I have ever done so here.

We've never met. I've read this blog as well as your posts on the denialism blog regularly and with interest since my introduction to your writing through the Skeptics' Circle. I'm a mom with a History degree living in New Mexico with a strong interest in my family's health. You, Orac and the other fine SBM bloggers have been inspirational to me in my attempts to keep the woo away from my children and my Nigel (and lately, even from my pets!).

By Rebekah Dekker (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I am an irregular reader here. I am not related to the author in any way. I came here once probably via Pharyngula or Orac and decided that I like this blog enough to occasionally lurk. I am interested in medicine and its perception.

Long ago from an atheist forum, found Pharyngula, then Orac, then your blog shortly before you came to ScienceBlogs.

I'm a retired cuberat in Ohio.

We've never met.

No background in medicine (though several relatives were nurses, NPs).

I very much like your explanations of things.

You and Orac have led me away from CAM (was taking a lot of supplements).

I can't remember how I got to your blog, but once I found it I became a daily reader and fairly frequent commenter. I especially like the posts where you describe the practice of medicine and those dealing with family. We've never met IRL and it's not likely we will, but I would be very pleased to meet you.

I'm 50+ with a liberal arts education in music and English, though I'm not a good writer or good musician. I have always had an interest in science and did especially well in chemistry in HS and college.

Family circumstances led me to a nearby medical school's library in the early '80s and I've been reading science/medical journalism regularly since then. I'm currently considering discarding my print collection of Scientific American (1985 to 2003) but can't quite bring myself to do it, so hoarder/packrat can be added to my "mental problem" list.

I'm politically a small c, double small l conservative-libertarian-liberal. Shorter version: confused, contrary, and cantankerous. I'm also agnostic and try to be skeptical (is that redundant?)

Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate it.

Zingerman's. I miss Zingerman's. And Shalimar.

I probably stumbled across this blog somehow and added it to my google reader.
Starting 2nd year of grad school for PhD in molecular biology. I enjoy reading the different perspectives from other fields in science.

By Grad Student (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

Got here through SBM. I started reading medical blogs because I missed the human interest interaction after retiring early. It also had nothing to do with my former career where I have found few interesting blogs.

I have always been interested in science and often find myself surrounded by woo. Helped pay for two university degrees with research (research assistant and reading and producing research summaries).

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

I found your blog because you are on Scienceblogs. Usually I read it once a week because you don't post all that often. Your blog is informative and skeptical. I'm interested in medicine from the point of view of the patient. Between you and Orac I've read enough about the anti-vaxers to last me so usually skip those posts.

You don't know me, although I have previously left a comment on your story about the animal-right's wackos. I also live in the Midwest Great Lakes region, and have worked in the medical field all of my life. I am a social worker who has worked in both acute and long-term care, as well as a distant past in psychiatric social work. My husband is an RN, and is a health-care quality specialist, although he had a previous life as a critical care nurse. I love your blog because I enjoy learning about the field which has engaged us all of our lives. It also refreshing to hear from a physician who understands how and why our current health-care delivery system is so broken.

I stop in here about once or twice a week to see what's new. This is my first comment here - but don't take that as a slight... although I read a number of blogs daily, it's rare for me to leave a comment. I need the time for my own writing, lol.

But hey - happy to oblige, at least this once. ;-)

I'm a former university researcher (Food Science & Med Path) and have been a skeptic for most of my adult life. These days I work as a consumer advocate within the recreational bodybuilding/fitness community; deciphering nutrition BS and supplement ad claims for folks wanting to shed excess fat, build some muscle and/or improve strength performance.

As such, I need to stay on top of pseudoscience and health-related nonsense (e.g. Mercola), as believers in need of deprogramming cross my path periodically.

We've never met. I've always been interested in medicine, though I don't work in that field. I've recently developed an interest in fighting nonsense in all its forms: creationism, anti-vax, medical woo (especially homeopathy), and general BS in politics. You, Orac, and others have provided lessons on logical fallacies, woo-spotting, etc. I feel I'm better armed to fight the creeping idiocracy. I think I came over here from Orac via Pharyngula. I check 4 or 5 blogs daily (including yours) and another half-dozen or so less often.

I also enjoy your posts on fatherhood as I'm in a similar station in life.

By The Gregarious… (not verified) on 03 Jul 2010 #permalink

we met the once, at some afterparty.

i'm into pharmacology, but i'm on the basic research side of things. so while i'm contributing in my little way to the advancement of health, i'm nowhere near the front line. it's nice to gather the perspective of someone who is. it reminds me of the beauty of the interplay between science and medicine, and the very human aspects that drive them.

Hey PAL, just another lurker here. I got here from PZ or Orac a while ago. I remember when you were a quest blogger on the Denialism blog. I keep hanging out because you seem like a normal guy, your daughter and mine are pretty close to the same age, and your daddy posts are pretty cool. When you do your research posts, you also have a good voice about how to help your patients understand the situation as well.

Keep up the good work PAL, you are appreciated, even if you don't post every day. When you do post, it is always worth reading.

We do not know each another in real life (or unreal life since this is my first post and likely last.) I read your blog from the vantage point of a patient and find your articles on patient-doctor relationships the most interesting. Posts about vaccine denial and zombies follow close behind.

I have written for my own amusement, have no interest in being a journalist and am interested in medicine in a very laywoman sort of way. I simply don't have the education for anything too technical. That said, I still do read quite a bit that's over my head and little grooves of understanding occasionally wear into my mind.

Semi-regular reader, for about a year. I've not been to the US for years - I don't know you. Got PhD in computer science, now work in finance.

I'm fascinated by American health care. It's unique among the relatively wealthy nations for not having some kind of universal insurance. I'm always interested to hear how physicians cope personally dealing with providing medicine to those who don't have the capacity to pay for it.

Regular reader, semi-frequent commenter, usually focused (hyper focused) on nitric oxide. I came here from when you moved from Denialism and from your independent blog. I don't remember how I got to the first ones.

What I like is how authentic you are, and how willing you are to talk about the limits of what medicine knows and what it can do and what it can't do, and how willing you are to change your practices to be a better health care provider. I remember in one of your early posts on suicide when instead of using the term âcompletedâ you used the term âsuccessfulâ, and I pointed it out and you changed it immediately.

That, and that you let me post long comments about NO physiology.

Lurker here. Retired and now have time to read what I want to instead of what I have to. I check in here daily. We have not met IRL, but I'll bet a bunch that I know the generic major research university that WcT (@30) mentions, and being degreed several times from the same university, I am deeply, deeply I say, offended by the word "generic." You may apologize by buying me a sandwich at that same "generic" deli.

By Montesquieu (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I got here through SBM, I think. I study political science and psychology, and while medicine isn't my concentration within those fields, it's interesting to see how they apply to it.


Did I say it was a deli?

Meh, who am i kidding...

I wonder if they still call it a "Sherman's Sure Choice"? Must google.

you don't know me. I'm an IT person in Detroit.

i seek out professional blogs for a non "WOO" opinion.

By discobiscuit (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hi, Pal. I started reading your blog a little over a year ago. I discovered it because I was trying to find strong science to support my pleas to friends to vaccinate themselves and their families against H1N1. But I've kept reading because I really enjoy your writing style and find the topics you discuss to be thought-provoking and interesting. (And the posts about your daughter are really sweet :))

We have not met IRL, but have had a meeting of the minds, so to speak. A friend who shares my skeptical mindset pointed me your way. I have no patience with woo-spouters, and appreciate and admire your debunkings. Stay sane and keep on writing.

I ended up her via the Chimp Refuge. I have a strong interest in medicine and am working on the BSN, which puts the BS in the bachelor's prepared nurse. Be that as it may I get my science fix from various places on the interwebs, not writing my 82nd paper on Healthy People 2010.

I'm a high school student and longtime lurker. My parents are physicians, and their work has inspired in me great interest in science and medicine. I prefer the rational/scientific way of looking at the world, and was thus attracted to the writing here and on ScienceBlogs as a whole.

Came here originally via SBM. Working as an outpatient and inpatient ANP, have been battling the demons of nursing woo since undergrad, but actual life/practice have diverted me from those efforts - I get to rewrite agency/facility P&Ps and various syllabi, but I haven't been fighting the anti-quackery battle at higher levels for a while. I'm around intermittently - I work too much and have two or three jobs. High-acuity uninsured patients, crushing workload, blah blah blah.
I am here for all of it, the skepticism and the medicine and the medical-social analysis and the introspection.
Enjoying the discussions re: addiction/medicine interface, as I'm working in a program with patients who are opioid-addicted (not physiologically dependent - addicted, as in 'injecting in neck') and also have chronic painful conditions.
I don't think we've met IRL. My facilities are kind of cranky about extra time off for skeptic meetings these days - I take a lot of CME time - so I didn't get to go to TAM this year. Maybe next year!

Danish IT-consultant with a deep interest in science, skepticism and the religion wars

Been following this blog pretty much from the start, but only occasionally comment due to the fact that I am always hopeless behind on my blogreading, and thus my comments would be outdated

SE Michigan Public Health Student, who might take it to medicine (as has been the career path) or might take it towards this interesting Environmental Quality and Health research stuff that I'm enjoying.

I read because I support science based medicine, and became a fan when Pal said something to the effect of "there is no alternative medicine. There are things that work, which is medicine, and things that don't, which is woo." And from there went on to advocate for research into erasing things in the "we don't know category. I have worked to be a physician for years, and want to hear advice about science based medicine from actual practioners.

By Numinous Joe (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm just starting med school in Ontario and enjoy your blog for the critical perspective. I'm more interested in human health and health sciences than "skepticism" per se, in fact I really dislike the term "woo" because I think it's lazy and non-specific, which seems to be what it's accusing the opposing argument of being. I think we should all be constantly vigilant of where our opinions come from and what backs them up. To whit, I enjoy your blog as part of a balanced and nutritious information source.

I'm an MD/PhD student about to finish in lab and heading back to clinics in the fall. I read a bunch of science/medicine blogs and like yours a lot. Thanks for writing this blog, I enjoy it!

Yeah, I lurk. I've thought about commenting before, but I never have until now. I love your blog. I work in health care--I particularly enjoy the posts you've done on anti-vaxxers. Keep up the good work!

I first started reading you when you joined Denialism blog. Moved with you to the new digs. Met you in person a couple of times. All good ;-)

After having seen your name come up on all the other blogs I read (Terra Sig, Respectful Insolence, Pharyngula, SBM, et al), I figured it might be time to investigate you.

And I'm glad I have.

and back to lurking I go. :)

I am a graduate student in molecular biology. I read all sorts of science, science related blogs. I rarely comment on any of the blogs I read as I am a big fan of simply reading what smart people have to write.

Pharma marketing researcher. I spend a lot of time interviewing docs about standards of care, and love reading doctor blogs for your insights about the industry, drugs, patients, etc...

I found your blog a couple of years ago when my daughter was diagnosed as "developmentally delayed". So I don't know if I found yours, Prometheus's or Orac first. Luckily it never progressed to a PDD, and she's socializing just fine, but I staid for the interesting insights. As a material scientist in the Southwest, I don't think we've run across IRL.

Per your request: We've not met. I edit a monthly health care magazine for regular people in another Great Lakes state. Most of our articles are written by physicians, edited by me. Beyond my personal interest in things medical (I have no medical training, just 40+ years as a journalist), I read a number of blogs by doctors (and nurses) in the hope of finding ideas for articles. Yours is a favorite. Want to write for my magazine?

You don't know me IRL, and probably don't remember me ever commenting. I'm not at all affiliated with medicine or anything, but I'm very curious. I read this blog because there's a shortage of blogs where people say things like, "The differential diagnosis of genital ulcers is interesting," and don't mean to be ironic in saying so.

i was so relieved to find you on huffington post, spreading sanity in an insane snippet of the world. i'm a psychiatry resident in the midwest.

I'm a bored secretary, looking to fill some time with knowledge. Found you through Terra Sig.

I do not know you personally. I visit because I enjoy your commentary and staying current on recent medical and science/political news.

I work in the field of bioterror preparedness with a background in volunteer management and emergency mitigation. I am especially interested in the topics of epidemiology and bio-ethics.

With <3 and peace,

- B

I don't remember how I found you. Love to read your blog, and need you because of incidents like this: had dinner with 4 friends who raved about the Blood Type Diet and didn't trust me, a hematologist. Keep up the good work, thanks!

Pal, we haven't met. Being an anesthesiologist with three young sons, I can't seem to find the time to post, but I lurk daily. I followed you here from Science-Based Medicine.

I enjoy your essays about pseudoscience and quackery, but what I really like most are your posts about the balancing act between being a doctor and being a Dad.

I read because I like the perspective you add to the naturalistic/science-based blogosphere. I'm an Australian office worker/honours student with no direct ties to anything medical other than a general interest in science and society.


Generic is by no way meant as an offensive term, perhaps I should have said "Archytypical" but I'm not sure that's a real word.

If you can find me (and I'm not all that difficult to find) I suggest lunch at that sandwichery or the not-that-far greek restaurant with the outdoor eating and the gyros to die for. If you're interested, my email is above as well :)

I've never met you, don't remember how I got to this blog, but I've got you in my Reader and generally just find your stuff interesting. I write administrative code rules...

Don't know you IRL. I found your blog when I started dating a med student, and went looking online for conversation topics of mutual interest.

No IRL connection. Found you via Respectful Insolence through Science Based Medicine. Am a pediatrician who found these blogs while looking for info on the anti-vaccine movement brought to my attention by some of my patient's parents.

By moderation (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

We've never met IRL. I found your blog through my husband, who reads Pharyngula regularly. Now I read both regularly. I like reading what you write because, as a nurse I'm not usually exposed to medical professionals who share my atheistic, skeptical views. It's a breath of fresh air after listening to supposedly educated nurses discuss the benefits of "HCG diets" and "therapeutic touch".

I am a skeptic and a student. I've never met you IRL, but found your blog and the rest of SB through Pharyngula.

I'm a researcher in EBM and health outcomes for teh evilz pharma and have only recently started following your blog after finding you via Orac. Great stuff and good to keep my colleagues grounded in one aspect of their customers' reality...

I am a french mathematician, commenting under my real name. I used to read you on the denialism blog. You have moved, I have followed you here. I am also a cancer patient, who has unexpectedly survived for 6 years after diagnosis, though the odds were about 1 against 5 or 6 (according to my oncologist). I love life, and enjoy avery second of it. Rational attitudes are a great help. Being a scientist, I look at my abdomen, and talk to it : fascinating disease down there, too bad the lab is inside my body.

By Michelle Schatzman (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm mostly a lurker who will comment if I have a strong opinion or awesome one-liner. Have not met you IRL, but I grew up in MI and am now an expatriate in Indiana. I'm a pediatrician interested in spreading truth and science in medicine. I'm a DO who believes in the interconnectedness of structure and function and the ability of the body to often heal itself, but I am skeptical of much I was taught regarding manipulation (especially craniosacral). I found your blog via Orac, and I have briefly interacted with you regarding a certain Lansing physician who specializes in male hormonal issues. Nice to make your electronic acquaintance, doc!

By Dave Hoffman (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hi, Pal! It's been a while since I've commented here, though that is more for a lack of time to keep up with all my favorite blogs than a content issue. I'm a postdoc and really like your posts on science-based medicine/science-based destruction of quackery.

Hi, Pal! Been out of town, so I'm commenting late. I am a regular reader and infrequent commenter. I'm a reproductive epidemiologist living down under. Don't know you IRL. Interested in the medical perspective on biomed science and journalism. I read you because I think you're very sane yet entertaining, and you cover a lot of the stuff I'm most interested in.

OK, so I'm finally catching up on my reading, and I would feel guilty if I didn't de-lurk. IRL we have been friends since college. I have commented once or maybe twice, but I have stifled the urge to post stories about you many times. I started reading your work a few years ago after you pointed me toward your old blog. I read because I've been one of your biggest fans for almost 25 years, but also because I'm a science/medicine junkie and a publishing consultant with a large part of my business in science and health communication. Oh, and I also love your posts on parenting.

Newly minted MS III in Texas. I pretty much only lurk, because (very similarly to the wards) I don't have much to add.

Well, I'm an infrequent commenter and frequent lurker. Definitely never met in real life. I work in acquisition somewhere near DC, and have no background in med/sci.

I read you because, much like reading Isis and Zuska, I love it when you go nuclear on teh stoopid. The science stuff is a good read, too, but I really enjoy it when the claws come out.

Whoa, I was away from the blogs for a few weeks. MS4, pretty certain I want to go into family med, currently doing a family ambulatory elective in a very urban hospital in the Northeast. I described homeopathic dilution to a patient the other day, and she was amazed. Now if I can only convince the woman who comes into the office with a BP of 210/110 that vitamins won't fix her hypertension, no matter what the internet says...

By Arnold T Pants (not verified) on 15 Jul 2010 #permalink

I found you indirectly on Twitter--someone must have retweeted something you said, and being curious, I look up your profile & started following you. Then I found I could get WCU by email/RSS. I think I've wandered a bit through your archives.

I have been fascinated by plant-based poisons/cures since high school--Isaac Asimov's articles might have had something to do with it, indirectly. I might have become a pharmacist, save for my poor higher math skills. Without the foundation of math, all else was futile.

We have never met IRL/F2F. I've enjoyed what you've chosen to write, and the classical music doesn't hurt, either. I agree with your thoughts on Pepsicopalypse--real conflict of interest there, ethics muddy.

I like to keep up with a variety of medical topics: psychiatry because my son & I are bipolar; neonatal/fetal issues & blood typing issues because I was completely transfused with O+ several times in my first month of life (my sister got the same treatment), because our parents were Rh-incompatible; cancer just because (*I* believe in skin cancer, having had two basal cell clumps removed), along with any number of new developments.

I currently live in the Bay Area, and unless my husband can get a great-paying job in the British Isles or France, I'm not planning on moving from here. I was never likely to have had a waterside residence (floods & storms & mold & mildew), but at this point, where I live MUST be at least 100' above current sealevel.

I can't be as verbose as some of the folks above at this point. I can be provoked into doing so, come the right issue!

By A. Marina Fournier (not verified) on 15 Jul 2010 #permalink