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UCLA physician boils medical literature down to 50 key studies

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Dr. Michael Hochman, UCLA, medical literature. medical information, 50 studies

An astounding amount of medical literature from the US and around the globe is impossible to keep up with. Thus, a UCLA physician took on the daunting task of distilling it down to what he deemed to be the 50 currently most important medical studies.

Although the book is geared for medical professionals, it can provide valuable information to anyone interested in the medical literature. On May 22, the UCLA Health System announced that “50 Studies Every Doctor Should Know: The Key Studies that Form the Foundation of Evidence Based Medicine” is now available as an e-book or a paperback publication. The author, Dr. Michael Hochman, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar in the division of general internal medicine and health services research, department of medicine, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Dr. Hochman refers to his book as “the CliffsNotes of the 50 key studies that doctors should know.” He explains, “It's written at a level for medical students, nurses, and other medical professionals, but it would also be appropriate for a scientifically minded lay person who's interested in the science behind medicine.” The book covers studies in all branches of medicine including preventive and internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, radiology, neurology and psychiatry, as well as systems-based practice such as palliative care and care coordination. Dr. Hochman noted that the book provides summaries and analyses of studies that have defined key concepts in medicine. He cited an example: “I picked one of the pivotal trials showing that medications and psychotherapy are equally effective for treating most cases of depression. And I included the landmark study demonstrating the harms of post-menopausal hormone therapy.”

Dr. Hochman noted that as far back as his days as a medical student, he had difficulty sifting through mounds of medical literature to find appropriate studies; thus, he found that he had gaps in areas of his medical knowledge. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Hochman devotes time to medical writing. He has written on medical topics for the Boston Globe and other lay publications.

His new book has received acclaim from top researchers, including some whose studies Hochman summarizes.

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Some examples:
“With thousands of research papers published each year, it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Dr. Hochman's book is a big help. He expertly and clearly summarized the top 50 studies that influenced medicine. These summaries are balanced, scholarly and helpful. A must read.”
- Dr. Peter J. Pronovost, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine

“A perfect introduction to the understanding of valuable lessons learned from clinical trials.”
-Debra S. Echt, , chief medical officer, EBR Systems, Inc.

“Dr. Hochman's book provides an excellent foundation for emerging medical professionals. The studies included in this book are proving to be durable and definitive works in health care.”
- C. Patrick Chaulk, , assistant commissioner for HIV/STD services, Baltimore City Health Department

“The summary [of our study] was perceptive and accurate. I hope this and the other studies included in this work are inspirational to a new generation of clinical investigators.”
-Jeremy Fairbank, professor of spine surgery, University of Oxford

“We need a similar book for the most important recent studies in Neurology.”
-Dr. Werner Hacke, professor and chair, department of neurology, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Information regarding Dr. Hochman’s book is available at this link.