As the ten year anniversary of his eponymous blog nears, the skeptical cardiologist has been pondering the best use of his rapidly dwindling time. Since the website was upgraded in August of 2020 prior statistics have vanished but in the two years since then, WordPress tells me I’ve had over a million views and more than 750K visitors.
I realize these numbers are insignificant compared to say, cat video websites, but I’m happy that my words have reached a significant number of discerning readers. It is most gratifying to have had over 6000 comments left on the blog, some highly complementary, a few highly critical, and most highly thought-provoking and informative. In addition, I’ve had hundreds of wonderful email conversations with readers, many of whom are now my patient or friend.
My “content” production has ramped up over the years, peaking in 2020, and declining precipitously this year. The average words per post just seems to keep climbing, most recently peaking at 1149 words this year.
Despite having more free time in my new hybrid cardiology practice, it seems I’ve only pumped out 21 posts in 2022 and I’m on track for my lowest output in 8 years.
My lack of production is not related to a lack of things I want to write about. Since 2014 I’ve published 580 posts, but have written another 600 or so posts that are in a draft format, remaining unpublished for various reasons, the most common being simply a lack of time.
I also feel like most of the topics in nutrition and cardiovascular disease that I have been most passionate about, especially those where the mainstream guidelines were wrong, I have already written about in detail.
Here are some of my recent draft post titles:
I really would like to get the pill-in-the-pocket anticoagulation post out, it is a wonderful alternative approach, but it will requires hours and hours of meticulous review of the data in this area. Similarly, I feel the post on the reasons behind the insanely high prices for asthma inhalers and the ways to get cheaper inhalers is really important but will have limited impact on most of my readers and my time commitment would be wasted.
The last draft post listed refers to Dr. Gundry having sent me two “cease and desist” letters. Fear of law suits, legal harassment or job-related concerns limit the publication of many posts.
Money, Bias, and the Scientific Method
I still make no money from The Skeptical Cardiologist. There are no ads. There are no backlinks or guest posts (that companies are constantly asking me to insert). There is no subscription fee. Big dairy is not secretly paying me to promote dairy fat. Big pharma could care less what I say about statins.
I’m still unbiased and approach every issue from a neutral standpoint, seeking only the truth. Because of this, it is entirely possible that with new scientific studies, further research and reading, the information I posted in old articles has become outdated or incorrect.
A good sign that one is dealing with a website that is truly devoted to the scientific method is that it is malleable: change is constant.
What I plan to do over the next few months is to look back on what I’ve written and identify what is still correct in those 580 articles and what is in need of updating. This will entail updating my knowledge base to some extent, but in the areas I am passionate about I am constantly reviewing the field and reading any new publications that might challenge or support what I’ve previously written.
We’ll start with my first post from 12/27/2012 entitled “Does Eating High-Fat Dairy Cause Heart Disease or Obesity?” It was more of a test of the WordPress post-writing process than anything for me but it did summarize the topic that made me become skeptical about guidelines in general.
I delivered a lecture to the cardiology fellows at Saint Louis University last week on “The Optimal Diet to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease.” (I hope to post the video of that here soon.) In preparation, I reviewed any and all relevant scientific papers, guideline recommendations and review articles. Several important studies have been published in the last 2 years which I haven’t touched on here. In my next post we’ll find out if my opinion on high-fat dairy and cardiovascular disease has changed in 10 years as a result.