READERS of scientific journals can be divided into two groups: those who read and those who order reprints. Confronted with burgeoning periodicals of legitimate and throw-away types, the physician's reading intentions are frustrated by a volume of verbiage impossibly disproportionate to available time. The temptation is to retreat from reality into the reprint-ordering syndrome.
Somewhere there must be old-fashioned souls who set aside time for a few journals and read through select articles—Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Comment, and Summary. Such nonconformists must exist but, by and large, they are outside my ken. (I know two readers: one is an octogenarian who limits his practice to half-days and subscribes only to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the county medical society journal, Time, and Playboy; the other is a lady physician who dabbles in city health clinics twice weekly and reads voraciously while her children are at school.)