Explaining Medicine in Plain English

Today, we have more access to medical articles and abstracts than ever before. Everyone can now look for medical articles and scientific studies at a click of a button, through the Internet (especially through National Libary of Medicine's free PubMed service).

Medical Articles are Hard to Understand

Understanding what the article is all about, however, is a different matter. Scientists and medical researchers write in a concise, yet jargon-filled manner that confuses most layperson.

Take for instance, this excerpt below:

"We highlight a case of gouty arthritis involving the atlanto-axial joint resulting in joint instability, subluxation, and neurological deficit. A 66-year-old obese woman who had a polyarticular disease for the previous 3 years presented with neck pain and progressive neurology."

It's written in English - but for most people, it might as well be written in latin.

We'll Translate It Into Plain English!

Let us translate it for you:

"We highlight a case of gouty arthritis (or also commonly known as gout) found at the joint of the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae of the spinal cord. This results in joint instability, dislocation of the joint, and impairment of nerve function (Editor's note: the exact problem is not disclosed, although it is most likely caused neural impingement or pinched nerves). A 66-year old obese woman who had a joint disease, which affects multiple of her joints, for the previous 3 years came with neck pain and nerve function problems."

We have dedicated a whole section of Health In Plain English for translating medical and research article summaries (all available publicly at PubMed) into plain English.

We hope that this service can help you as a layperson understand more about the medical and scientific research that interest you.

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