If you’re reading this, then you’re probably one of many who didn’t want to be homeschooling in the first place, but are forced to because of COVID-19.

I get you. Like blue cheese and blue jeans, homeschooling is not for everyone.

In fact, even though we have been homeschoolers for 15 years, I still have days when I wish my kids went to a conventional school instead. In fact, the fourth of my five kids does go to a conventional school, and the fifth will too.

Having said that, we did learn a few things in the 15 years we’ve…


So while we had our noses buried in the hardcover version of the AMA Manual of Style, 10th edition, changes had been happening in its much-more-dynamic online counterpart.

Punctuation, spaces, and capital letters have disappeared. Some acronyms no longer need to be expanded. And that morbid cross at the end of deceased authors’ names? Gone.

If you want the full list of revised recommendations, you can go straight to the AMA Manual of Style website.

Now if you’re pressed for time and just want to see the most relevant changes for the healthcare communications industry, read on.

Note: The revisions…


Compliance. Adherence. Concordance.

We can’t seem to settle on the best word to label the extent by which patients continue to accept their prescribed treatment regimen.

Why is choosing the right word so important?

A bitter pill to swallow

Treatment acceptance is complex. It is hard for patients to accept long-term treatment, because doing so entails a significant change in routine and lifestyle.

Humans, in general, don’t deal very well with change.

Long-term treatment acceptance means the patient needs to fill a prescription and take the meds

  • at the right dose,
  • at the right time,
  • at the right frequency,

Day after day after day, perhaps…


Before I became a medical editor, I worked at an English-teaching company. I edited training materials for learners of English as a second language.

Our clients were lawyers, managers, CEOs from European countries. So whenever I trained new writers, I reminded them their work will be read by people who were well informed and competent.

The learners’ only weakness was they weren’t too good at understanding English.

“So introduce complex topics,” I would tell them. “Analyze. Philosophize. And yes, use difficult words, and then help your learners understand them through context, definition, and discussion.”

One thing they should never, ever…


All professions have bad habits (or habits that have been accused of being such): Graphic designers charge too little for freelance projects. Programmers take any excuse to avoid writing documentation. Doctors perform routine cancer screening on people with less than 10 years’ life expectancy.

Professional bad habits can compromise the effectiveness and efficiency of our work.

And when you’re in a field that deals so closely with human lives — like medical writing — the repercussions of compromised work quality can be far-reaching.

Having said that, we list below some bad habits of medical writers — three of which are…


I was chatting with my cousin the other day. She has small-cell cervical cancer, stage 3B.

She mentioned that a friend was suggesting she try some alternative “natural product” instead of her standard cancer-treatment regimen because “chemotherapy and radiotherapy are too harsh.”

Feigning calmness, I asked her if she took the friend’s advice.

She said no. “Why would I want gentle treatment when the disease I’m fighting is aggressive?” she asked.

So what was she taking now, I asked.

“Paclitaxel.”

“Well,” I told her, “you can tell your friend that you took her advice to go natural. …


In vitro studies, or test tube/petri dish studies, used to support a health product’s efficacy claims: these kinds of proof make me want to hit somebody.

Why?

Because when people put their trust in products that don’t have real proof of safety and efficacy, they can die.

It’s like jumping onto a safety net — except the net isn’t really there.

Natural treatments that work

Now don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against natural products.

In fact, my family’s first-line treatment for cough is Vitex negundo (lagundi). And I eat Moringa oleifera (malunggay) to combat my chronic anemia. …


It’s 9:30 PM, one and a half hours after the end of my shift, and I’m still at the office waiting for my husband to come fetch me.

It’s usually no big deal, staying an extra overtime-without-pay hour. I love my job. But it’s Friday night, and I’ve been editing all week.

So 30 minutes ago, I decided to close my work-related windows and open my long-neglected blog.

Then I saw it: “Treasure Box,” a blog post about my full-time mommying days — a time that now seems so far away.

A Different Lifetime

Once upon a time, I was a stay-at-home mom…


A month ago, I lost a niece to cancer. She had been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). She died less than four weeks after our family was informed of the diagnosis.

I still haven’t recovered from the shock of that event. But it wasn’t because she died from cancer — we all know cancer kills.

What I couldn’t swallow was how helplessly she died. Didn’t have a fighting chance.

You see, she never received any real treatment: no chemo, no targeted therapy, no nothing.

You know what she got? Barley.

Chalk up another victim of cancer disinformation. The perpetrators…


Vitamins, minerals, milk, and honey — all these are good, healthy stuff. But did you know that some of these “good” things are in fact dangerous, even deadly, for children?

Giving Water to Babies

Every summer, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center sees 3 to 4 infants suffering from seizures because their parents gave them water to drink.

“Babies need extra fluids in the hot weather, but straight water is not one of them,” says Allen Walker, head of Johns Hopkins’ emergency department.

Walker explained that the body needs both water and sodium. …

Blessie Adlaon

Medical editor. Homeschooling mom of five. I speak for the patient.

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