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Insights Into Medical Communication

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Edited By Maurizio Gotti, Stefania Maria Maci and Michele Sala

This book analyses the subject of medical communication from a range of innovative perspectives, covering a broad spectrum of approaches and procedures that are particularly significant in this field.
In this volume, medical communication is analyzed from various viewpoints: not only from a merely linguistic angle, with a focus on the description of the genres used in medical and healthcare contexts, but also from a social and cultural standpoint, with an emphasis both on the doctor-patient relationship and on the social relevance of the other types of communicative links existing between the many communities involved in this type of interaction.
The study of some of the main fields typical of medical communication has highlighted a considerable variety of themes, data and research methods which are clearly representative of the eclectic interest in this specific domain and of the wide range of approaches developed for its investigation.
As the various chapters show, linguistic analysis proves to be highly applicable to textualizations involving multiple interactions and practices, and several kinds of participants, including different healthcare professionals, trainees and patients.
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Recontextualizing Expert Discourse in Weblogs: Strategies to Communicate Health Research to Experts and the Interested Public

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1

1.  Introduction

In the last few years science blogs have proliferated as a communication medium to share scientific research with experts and to inform the interested public of science-related news and discoveries. Medical weblogs, in particular, have become an increasingly popular way to disseminate health-related information to the end user (i.e. clinicians, patients). In addition to the high number of individual medical and health blogs, high profile journals, like the British Medical Journal (BMJ) or the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), also have their blogs and social media sites, intended to make research results more accessible to the interested public. Posts in medical blogs may contain information about diseases and treatments, information on current medical research, and discussion of recently published medical papers and of their relevance for clinical practice (Prasad/Kumar 2012). The objective is not only to share knowledge, but also to debunk myths and help readers take informed decisions. In their study of health research blogging, Shema et al. (2014) found that 90% of the posts in their corpus included a discussion and examination of issues dealt with in published articles, 30% included some criticism of issues discussed in the papers (e.g. criticism of claims, beliefs, methodology) and 27% recommended actions for the ← 331 | 332 → readers. This reveals the blogger’s desire to share knowledge with their audience, but also to influence them.

Medical blogs provide a public space with health-related information both for experts and non-specialist readers. Their audience is...

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