Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star…

If you don’t know already, Tefalhead is a medical writer, tinkering away at his keyboard writing ‘stuff’ for other folks. Most of his writings are based on clinical trial data for whatever product he is working on, and for whomever chooses to use his writing talents; usually a pharmaceutical company. As a result, Tefalhead does not have much artistic license when it comes to inventive manuscript titles. But, Tefalhead has a burgeoning artistic side, which is often desperate to show itself (in a non Jekyll and Hyde kind of way, it’s ok folks…).

Until now Tefalhead had gotten used to writing according to CONSORT guidelines, guidelines for transparent reporting of medical trials. But Tefalhead often muses on the lack of opportunity to write creative titles in his medical manuscripts. While thinking this, Tefalhead cast back his mind back to years gone by when he was a lonely, nerdy, little PhD Student, residing in Dallas, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Here, the research was exciting, bold, inventive, creative even… and it is this creativeness that often ended up in manuscript titles, such as this….by Ron Estabrook and Bill Rainey:

Boy, these guys were good – gods in Tefalhead’s scientific world. In describing how one protein, called StAR controls how  hormones are produced in the cell, they don’t just stop with the imaginative title. Oh no, check out the last sentence…. “…and colleagues have demonstrated that StAR will continue to shine—but a twinkle remains in the eyes of those pursuing the detailed mechanism through which this long sought labile protein participates as an acute regulator of steroidogenesis.” So much better than the star trek sounding ‘New frontiers in…’ or the really uninviting ‘A perspective on…’, and leaves you with a pleasant picture of a twinkle in someone’s eye…. (mmm…)

Proof scientists are creative beings indeed… but that article is from 1996- eon’s ago in the scientific world! Have any other scientists demonstrated artistic flare in their manuscript titles? Well, it seems so… Tefalhead did a quick literature search and quickly found these little gems…

Through a glass darkly: advances in understanding breast cancer biology

Presumably in reference to the Bible passage from 1 Corinthians 13, in which seeing through a glass darkly refers to our understanding of God when we are alive, but the view will only be clear when we die. When reading this Tefalhead found his head slunking over his keyboard in a wave of despair… boy, this sounds depressing given we are talking about developments in breast cancer biology! Tefalhead reckons the authors presumably wanted to convey the fact that our vision of breast cancer at the moment is an imperfect or obscure vision of what is ‘reality’. Not so depressing I guess… hey, these guys are on another level! Here is another…

Transporters, Trojan horses and therapeutics: suitability of bile acid and peptide transporters for drug delivery

 Sounds like a bit of The Matrix mashed up with a bit of greek mythology doesn’t it?

We’ll ignore all reference to ‘Achilles Heel’… you guys are wasters, but Tefalhead reckons there are lots of opportunities for you scientists out there to be creative in writing your manuscript titles, and is a little jealous, after all it’s little restrictive when all you really have to play with is…

Phase 3 randomized controlled study of [insert drug] in patients with [insert disease]…  yada yada yada

But, hey, who said being a medical writer was all rock and roll! (But I like it…)


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