I am an editor of a standard postgraduate medical textbook and as such am
concerned that all contributions should be evidence-based.  I am aware of
different ways in which textbooks try to acheive this, but am interested in
knowing about all possible models for this.

For example, Clinical Evidence does a great job and provides a
handbook/reference guide of topics of wide general interest in healthcare.
However its question/answer presentation and limitation to interventions is
not appropriate to the more discursive format of most textbooks.  These
often have to cover aspects of conditions or disease states such as
aetiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, natural history, clinical management
etc etc, in an engaging and readable format.  In many of these areas the
evidence may be thin, but statements about the current state of knowledge
need to be made.

Much of the literature in this area is likely to be buried within the pages
of textbooks and therefore not readily accessible by electornic means, which
is why I thought it would be a good topic to air to this group.  My specific
questions are:

1. What methods do you know for ensuring that textbooks provide a summary of
the best available current evidence in the topic areas which they cover?
2. What are the strengths and limitations of these methods?

Best wishes,

Rosalind L Smyth
Brough Professor of Paediatric Medicine
University of Liverpool
Institute of Child Health
Alder Hey Children's Hospital
L12 2AP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 151-252-5693
Fax:+44 (0) 151- 252-5456
e-mail: [log in to unmask]