It is not easy to stay on top of the medical literature in any field. The number of journals and publications has increased dramatically over the last decade. When we first started this website, there were a handful of articles to read each week. Now, it is easy to find 50 or so publications each week that are relevant to the practice of perinatal psychiatry.
On our website, we try to stay abreast of the latest news, and you are, of course, welcome to continue to use our website as your primary source of information. But many people want to know what I read and how I find out about current literature. I am including that information here.
Pubmed – This is obviously the best source for original research, but it requires time and patience. If you sign up for an account on NCBI, you can specify your search parameter and get email alerts. If you enter something like “depression AND pregnancy”, you will get about 35-50 articles per week. These Pubmed searches provide the content for our weekly roundups.
ToC (Table of Contents) Alerts for specific publications send you email notifications of the Table of Contents of newly published journal issues. For perinatal psychiatry, I find the most articles published in the following journals
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (JCP) – Sign up for alerts
Archives of Women’s Mental Health – Sign up for alerts
JAMA Psychiatry – Sign up for alerts
American Journal of Psychiatry – Sign up for alerts
The first two journals are particularly useful. JCP under the leadership of our very own Dr. Marlene Freeman features a quarterly issue focusing on women’s mental health. In addition to original research, these issues feature a column by Chittaranjan Andrade, MD; these are thoughtful and well-researched articles about current topics in our field. (Bonus: The full-text of these columns is available to non-subscribers for free.)
While these journals publish excellent articles on women’s mental health, many articles on the reproductive safety of medications do not, however, appear in those journals. They tend to appear in Pediatrics, the Journal of Pediatrics, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and PLoS Medicine. It is time-consuming to scan for these articles. The good (and bad) news is that many articles related to the safety of medications used during pregnancy appear on health news aggregators.
Health News Aggregators are helpful inroads to learning about particular topics in medicine. They often appear in the press before the original articles are published and are easy to scan; however, there are some caveats. News aggregators are more likely to publish splashy articles and to use eye-catching headlines. They are more likely to focus on rare and dramatic outcomes and less likely to publish articles supporting the reproductive safety of a particular medication. Finally, they often summarize just the article or piece of news in question and do not put this information in a larger context.
That said, aggregators are a good way to get a lay of the land. I am sharing my opinions on some of the ones I use most frequently. I receive daily alerts from the following sources:
Healio Psychiatry and Healio Women’s Health & OB/GYN – My current favorite. One of the great things about Healio is that they put the reference (with a link) at the top of the article so you don’t have to plow through the whole article looking for the magic link. You can sign up for daily alerts on the home page.
MedPage Today Psychiatry – Also a good resource. Visually this aggregator is somewhat more difficult to scan the headlines because they lump stories together. Nonetheless, the information they present is generally good. You can sign up for alerts on the home page.
Medscape Psychiatry – I used to be a big fan of Medscape. I think the quality of writing is good; however, beware of signing up for alerts. I recently canceled my subscriptions because I was getting 10-20 emails from Medscape per day.
Free Medical Journals – We used to call these “throwaway journals” because they came to your mailbox whether you wanted them or not and because they are not peer-reviewed. Most of these journals are now peer-reviewed. While they do not present original research or carry the prestige of top tier journals; the articles are generally well-written and clinically relevant. You can sign up for email alerts for any of these.
Psychiatry Advisor – This journal offers a mix of aggregated and original articles. Occasional articles on women’s mental health; some of the more substantive articles are written by experts in the field.
Psychiatric Times – Published by the APA. Original articles and opinion pieces, but less commonly has articles on perinatal psychiatry.
Google Scholar Alerts can be helpful for staying abreast of a narrow topic, for instance new articles on zuranolone or articles from a particular author; however, for general articles this type of alert is often rather nonspecific and takes a long time to scan.
Hopefully this is helpful information. Feel free to share other approaches.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD