Cureus Conversations: Q&A With Editor in Chief Dr. John Adler

Cureus Conversations: Q&A With Editor in Chief Dr. John Adler
Dr. John Adler
Cureus Editor in Chief

Dr. John Adler is the Editor in Chief of the Cureus Journal of Medical Science and Dorothy and Thye King Chan Professor in Neurosurgery Emeritus at Stanford University.

In your opinion, what is wrong with the current system of medical publishing? 

So much of publishing is presently geared towards a small elite community of academic physicians who understand the rules of the process and have the most time to engage in the publishing “game”. This means that the ideas from these academics, many of whom are not necessarily accomplished clinicians in the real world, are most widely circulated. Of course much of this process is intended to support the academic tenure process, which needs to create at least the illusion that certain ideas are innovative as opposed to merely being the product of an observant physician. Part of this stems from an excessive reliance on statistics.

Why are some slow to embrace the Open Access philosophy?

For the above reasons, academic physicians who have dominated journals for generations are loath to see publishing democratized. Democratization threatens their exclusivity/power in communicating medical science to the world.

What motivated you to start the Cureus Journal of Medical Science?

Having spent a lifetime in academia I could see that many truly clever, experienced and innovative physicians living in the trenches of medicine had no voice within the broader world of healthcare.

“Ask Me Anything” with Dr. John Adler
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How do you measure success at Cureus?

The number, quality and reach of the articles we publish, as well as how engaged readers are with the content within.

Why should doctors and researchers publish in Cureus?

Cureus’ makes it easier and cheaper to publish a peer reviewed article than was ever possible before.

What makes a strong approval editor? What do the Cureus editors look for when critiquing medical science?

Ultimately Cureus’ most important duty is to our readers. It is somewhat ironic that Cureus’ responsibility to readers transcends that of our physician “customers”, with whom our editorial team primarily interacts. With this understanding in mind, I like it when an approval editor understand this hierarchy of accountability, approaching an article first and foremost from the reader’s perspective. Their job is not to kill/reject articles but to make sure that by reading carefully they suss out any “BS”, so that the reader has less work to do. Having said that every article, every time, by every reader should be approached with some measure of skepticism. There are no absolute truths in science. This is why our mantra is to publish “credible” science allowing the best science to “pass the test of time”.

Are you currently working on any research?

As a matter of fact, I just co-authored the following article published in Cureus: Neuromodulation via Focal Radiation: Radiomodulation Update

Using Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)Therapy to Efficiently Reduce Beard Hair Loss

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is one of the most recent scientific advancements in the field of hair restoration. It’s simple, painless and relies on activating your body’s own healing capacities. Here is what you need to know about this procedure:


What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for beard hair loss?   


PRP therapy has already been successfully used for some time in treating other conditions, such as muscle, bone or joint injuries. However, it was only recently that its benefits in promoting hair growth and restoration have been scientifically verified. This quick and easy procedure involves drawing a little bit of your own blood, then using a special centrifuge to separate the substances in it. Once the nutrient-rich platelets, which are great at promoting tissue growth are isolated, they are injected into the balding areas on your chin. This leads to better vascularization, tissue healing and regeneration, which means your reinvigorated follicles will start producing a thick and healthy-looking beard.


The procedure is no more painful than the sting of any injection, it is not invasive and carries no more risks than your average jab. Because it is your own blood that you are using, there is no chance of the body rejecting the platelets.     


Who can benefit from PRP therapy for beard hair loss?


There is already mounting evidence that PRP can be very effective in treating androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) in the beard area. However, new research indicates that it may also successfully treat alopecia areata of the beard – a relatively rare, auto-immune condition which leaves a pattern bald spots on your chin. 


PRP therapy can also help treat beard loss caused by trauma (if the scarring is not too severe), by resolved skin issues, or by aging. However, it is unlikely that this procedure will yield good results if your hair loss is caused by beard trichotillomania (pulling out your beard hair when stressed), chemotherapy, untreated dermatological conditions, extensive scarring etc. If you are unsure what is causing your beard hair to fall out or would like to be certain that PRP is the right choice for you, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.  


How much does PRP therapy for beard hair loss cost?

A good price-quality ratio, offered by the well-reputed Wimpole Clinic in London, starts at $449 per PRP session. Given that 3-4 sessions, spaced out 4 weeks apart are normally required, followed by a booster session after 6-12 months, you should probably consider setting aside around $2,000-3,000 for the procedure in the first
year.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was sponsored and contributed by Wimpole Clinic.

Since When is “Fast and Efficient” a Shortcoming?

This past winter, I was notified in a short email that a scientific journal directory intended to drop Cureus from its list of preferred Open Access journals. No matter how specious any claim to exclusivity might be, who doesn’t crave getting past the big burly doorman guarding “The Club”? I reached out to this burly “Editor-in-Chief” of a “fraternity of journals” asking him how and why he arrived at his decision. After six email requests over nearly five months, I finally received a terse three-sentence 72-word response. In the eyes of the “Editor-in-Chief”, Cureus’ primary shortcoming was “submission to publication times are extremely short and you advertise your speed.” Basically, as I interpret this email rejection, Cureus’ sin is that it’s just too damn fast and efficient. Ahh… yeah, I guess Cureus is guilty as charged.

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Wear a Damn Mask, PLEASE!

Wear a Damn Mask, PLEASE!

When Covid first appeared in the US, several Asian physician friends had simple advice for me, “Wear a mask.” Having dealt with various coronaviruses for over a decade, this was the fundamental lesson taken from dealing with and controlling these respiratory viruses. Now, I may only be a dumb neurosurgeon, (said with humility, irony and in jest), but I know a thing or two about masks, having spent 30 years of life wearing them, sometimes for 12 or more hours at a time. There is nothing pleasurable about wearing a mask, but I have experienced first-hand how masks can protect patients and physicians from illness. More broadly I have seen how masks can protect healthcare workers from the worst of infectious diseases, even giving them supernatural-like protection when they must enter the belly of the beast while caring for highly contagious and fatal illnesses like Ebola. Meanwhile, each and every day, healthcare workers all over the world, including my own family members are able to avoid infection while caring for hospitalized Covid patients who are often spewing the virus everywhere. It’s incontrovertible – masks truly work!; they prevent Covid infections.

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Diet Tips for People Suffering from Psoriasis 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was contributed by Everyday Health.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune, chronic condition, characterized by skin changes and other systemic manifestations. Aside from the treatment, and avoidance of trigger factors, such as stress, your doctor might recommend a change in your diet. 

A healthy diet is something anyone should consider, not only those who suffer from psoriasis. However, if you have been diagnosed with this condition, diet changes might help you keep the associated symptoms under control. Keep on reading and discover a few diet tips that might be helpful.

Continue reading “Diet Tips for People Suffering from Psoriasis “

The Covid-19 Pandemic: Not a Surprise!

Right now it is impossible to ignore the financial markets panicking, the breathless coverage by news media, the fearful buying at Costcos everywhere, and so many friends and family now worried about the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. Predictions of what might come next raise the specter of an historic pandemic that could literally kill millions or dare I say tens of millions before it runs its course. We are clearly living in an “interesting” time.

Continue reading “The Covid-19 Pandemic: Not a Surprise!”

Is it Time to Pull Back the Curtain from Peer Review?

Double-blind and single-blind processes continue to dominate academic peer review. Too often this results in a ‘black box’ – a system without sufficient transparency for authors, readers and reviewers alike. Hopefully one day fully transparent (and even public) peer review will come to be seen as acceptable throughout the world of academic publishing. For now we must take small steps to break down this barrier, just as Cureus works to break down barriers to publication.

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Does the Current Anti-science Crisis Emanate from our Imperious Scientific Journals?

In many domains of modern public discourse and opinion, there appears to have arisen willful ignorance of science, and perhaps even worse in many situations, outright hostility to scientific knowledge. This is most visible in government inaction towards a number of looming crises, most notably manmade global warming, but it’s also widely felt in the public health arena with vaccinations, drug addiction and over-utilization of antibiotics. Scientists and physicians remain frustrated and puzzled that obvious scientific arguments can be so baldly dismissed in the public arena, and in the face of such great collective peril. At the core of this modern tragic dilemma seems to lie a fundamental mistrust of science.

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A Handless Surgeon? It’s Not as Crazy as it Sounds.

During my halcyon college days, long before I knew I would “grow up” to be a surgeon, I was a huge fan of Star Trek. Although the ideas behind warp speed travel and teleportation were mind blowing, I was even more captivated by “Bones” McCoy’s Tricorder. This and other similarly nifty little medical devices could in the hands of the right doctor affect surgical-like cures for most any disease non-invasively and without pain.

Who wouldn’t want to embrace such a future for medicine?

Continue reading “A Handless Surgeon? It’s Not as Crazy as it Sounds.”

Medical Journals are Not Just for Docs in Ivory Towers

Why do we publish? As the editor-in-chief of a medical journal, I struggle a lot with this question. After more than 200 years, peer-reviewed journals have clearly established themselves as medicine’s best arbitrator of truth. They are, or at least ideally should be, at the center of everything we practice in our clinics. Yet somehow we physicians, even those of us in academia, are blind to many of the important roles that journals serve in medicine today.

Continue reading “Medical Journals are Not Just for Docs in Ivory Towers”