The Story of Dr. Rose's Peripheral Brain

I began the Peripheral Brain in 1992 as a fourth-year medical student by typing in those handwritten notes I used most frequently.  Since then, I have added to it, putting in useful information from textbooks, lectures, journal articles, and any other reliable source of information on clinical diagnosis and care.

The Peripheral Brain started out as a MacIntosh Microsoft Word File, then I converted it to a PC Microsoft Word File when I became a PC person. When the file became too cumbersome to scroll through to find something, I started exploring ways to cruise through the document more easily.  I eventually decided to convert it into a Windows Help file (.hlp), which allows information to be divided up into sections connected by links, i.e. a hypertext document. That incarnation lasted almost two years. Eventually, I got sick of a) Having to constantly recompile the 1.4MB behemoth whenever I made any changes and b) Having to continually upload/download new versions among the various computers I worked at. HTML was the only way to go!

As I mentioned, the sources of information for the Peripheral Brain are disparate.  Over time, I have tried more and more to stick to the peer-reviewed medical literature and include details on specific studies. Among the various sources I rely on regularly are: The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, ACOG "Technical Bulletins," and "Journal Watch," a biweekly summary of important studies from 30 or 40 major medical journals.  A journal citation with the letters "JW" after it indicates that I got the info from the Journal Watch summary and didn't read the study itself. The letters "AFP" after a reference indicates that I got the info from reading a summary of the study in the "Tips from Other Journals" section of American Family Physician. "ML" refers to the Medical Letter. "Abst" after a citation indicates that I got the info from reading the abstract and/or some of the paper but didn't read the entirety of the paper. I am the first to admit that the contents of the Peripheral Brain are to some extent random, since aside from the above-mentioned sources that I read regularly, I include information from other materials that I come across by chance. However, I make a point of avoiding any reading material that is in any way sponsored or distributed by a pharmaceutical company or other commercial source.

Eric Rose, MD.