Essay on Why should medical editors CARE about case reports?

Essay on Why should medical editors CARE about case reports?

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„Always note and record the unusual…Publish it.“ (1)
-William Osler

While contemplating the evolution of medical publishing, one might be tempted to think of it under terms of the Recapitulation theory. Namely, as ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, similarly it might be conjectured that both evolution of medical publishing, at least in its forms, and the stages of scientific production in a clinicians` career follow similar progression of evolutionary stages. In other words, a modern „evidence-based“ clinician, trough his publications, climbs the steep „Level-of-evidence“ pyramid, recapitulating much the growth of the pyramid itself; during his first clinical steps, he writes case reports, strives towards taking part in clinical trials, and, as he grows proficient in his field of interest, finally writes and publishes reviews and meta-analyses. Even though advocates make a strong case when substantiating that solely case reports bring attention to novel entities and are indispensable for medical progress, in the evidence based era of impact factors and citations, case reports are often considered invaluable, due to their low citation rates (14). However, case reports have not only changed and grown more complex in their form, but continue to report on a wide range of topics other than direct clinical experience. Similarly, the role of case reports has outgrown its primary purpose. In its beginnings case reports were intended to identify clinical novelty, following to alert of adverse reactions and highlight innovations, whilst today they play a significant role in medical education and emphasize ethical predicaments (2, 3).


Throughout the history of medicine, numerous case reports have played a major r...

... middle of paper ...

...sensus-based clinical case report guideline development. J Med Case Reports 2013.
16. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, the PRISMA Group: Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med 2009, 6(7):e1000097.
17. Schulz KF, Altman DG, Moher D: CONSORT 2010 statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomized trials. Ann Intern Med 2010, 152(11):726-732.
18. Rison R, Kidd M, Koch C. The CARE (CAse REport) guidelines and the standardization of case reports. Journal of medical case reports. 2013; 7 (1): 1--3.
19. Bignall J, Horton R Learning form stories – Lancet's case reports. Lancet 1995;346:1256.
20. Vandenbroucke JP Case reports in an evidence-based world (Editorial). J R Soc Med 1999;92:159–63.
21. Kidd MR, Hubbard C: Introducing Journal of Medical Case Reports. J Med Case Rep 2007, 1:1.

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