Medicine For The Masses

There are 30,000 scientific journals in the world, and most of them are unreadable. Do we really need another? Yes, yes, yes, at least in the case of the Annals of Family Medicine. The new journal is thin, photo-free and lures readers with scintillating headlines like applying a risk-adjustment framework to primary care. But behind the stuffy format is a radical idea: a medical journal that appeals to doctors and patients. With easy-to-understand articles, the Annals focuses on issues that may be overlooked in more specialized, esoteric journals, but are crucial in real life. It features sound, peer-reviewed science on common health problems like cancer, diabetes and pregnancy complications. And it does it all, free, on a Web site, ann (Or you can buy hard copies.) There's even a message board where readers--physicians or the rest of us--can respond to articles. "We don't want this to be just doctors talking to doctors," says editor Kurt Stange. He has an M.D. and a Ph.D., but you won't need either.