Has the COVID-19 Pandemic had an Effect on the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Literature?

As a trained and educated scientist, I have always approached literature, especially scientific literature, with skepticism.  What I have observed in the COVID-19 pandemic is a proof of something I have felt as I have read our scientific literature and attended many courses and symposia through the years — that is:  There is a considerable amount of bad information, and in many cases purposefully promulgated false and/or misleading information, put out by people who have taken the roles of “leaders” in our medical and surgical professions.

Much of this is understandable but not excusable — that is:  Much of it is just plain greed.  A good example is the false manufacturing of “evidence” or support information for a surgical procedure or medication with a financial goal or benefit for the individual making the claim.  In many other cases it is just plain arrogance that gets in the way of good science.  An example is where data is manipulated or misinterpreted by an author to support their hypothesis.  We see this often if we read medical and surgical literature critically.  This type of critique should be the job of the editors.

As the end users of this type of information, and because of this, I continue to approach scientific information with appropriate skepticism.  One certain tool is to find leaders, teachers, mentors, collaborators, and innovators who have proved themselves to be trustworthy, and seeking them out to discuss and evaluate the information and new ideas as they come along.  I have been fortunate to find a number of these groups, and I continue to bring my experience and ideas to these groups as well as seeking them out for solid evidence-based information.  Most of us are just striving to be the best practitioners who provide excellence in care for our patients.  Unfortunately, in the COVID era everyone must sift through the information and “facts” that are given and look for consistencies and truths.  When you find the truth, follow it.

Dr. Richard Wagner