Paper previously rejected by BMJ now accepted e... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

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Paper previously rejected by BMJ now accepted elsewhere

diogenes profile image

A few months ago in a previous post I said that an important paper of ours setting out the logistics of thyroid hormone therapy and current failure to understand and use modern understanding was rejected fairly brutally by referees working for the British Medical Journal. This paper involved Dr Tony Toft with ourselves. We have now received an acceptance (with of course the need for some revision - this always happens) from Elsevier BMC Endocrinology. The reviewers actually praised the paper as "sophisticated and highly articulate" (trumps-blowing). One of these was a distinguished professor from Harvard who has written extensively on T4-T3 combo therapy.

Our paper crystallises all the thinking and conclusions we have come to in past publications. It combines politics with science in discussing the thought processes underlying classical beliefs (ie that TSH is all in diagnosis). I append here our closing conclusion:

Until the situation is clarified all currently available treatment options should remain on the table and the focus should remain on facilitating the free choice of prescriptible treatment options rather than imposing new restrictions. The biochemically based reason for the rise in patient complaints has to be addressed, not a shift on to them of blame and burden of proof.

This invites a resume of the current state of affairs.

It appears that what we are witnessing constitutes an unprecedented historic change in the diagnostics and treatment of thyroid disease, driven by over-reliance on a single laboratory parameter TSH and supported by persuasive guidelines. This has resulted in a mass experiment in disease definition and a massive swing of the pendulum from a fear of drug-induced thyrotoxicosis to the new actuality of unresolved designation of hypothyroidism. All of this has occurred in a relatively short period of time without any epidemiological monitoring of the situation. Evidence has become ephemeral and many recommendations lag behind the changing demographic patterns addressing issues that are no longer of high priority as the pendulum has already moved in the opposite direction. In a rapidly changing medical environment, guidelines have emerged as a novel though often over-promoted driver of unprecedented influence and change. Treatment choices no longer rest primarily on the personal interaction between patient and doctor but have become a mass commodity, based on the increasing use of guidelines not as advisory but obligatory for result interpretation and subsequent treatment. Contrary to all proclaimed efforts towards a more personalised medicine, this has become a regulated consumer mass market as with many other situations. This is of little benefit to patients who will continue to complain, and with some justification, that the medical profession is not listening, thereby abandoning one of its primary functions in the doctor-patient relationship.

I will inform when the paper is published - it should be generally available then. However I think it demonstrates the mediocrity of much of British thyroidology.

32 Replies

I look forward to reading it when it is available.

Congratulations! It will be good to hear when we can read it!

Thank you for this update and looking forward to reading the paper.

That is great news! Thank you for all of your hard work.

Thank you!!!

Thanks so much for persisting! I can't wait to read the paper!


Wow! I love your conclusion! I look forward to reading the rest of the paper when it is available. :)

Brilliant, thank you!

"The biochemically based reason for the rise in patient complaints has to be addressed, not a shift on to them of blame and burden of proof."

Hear, hear!

Fabulous!! Well done to all.

If I remember correctly it was Dr Pearce who was the BMJ reviewer. He is on the NICE committee creating thyroid guidance. If your paper is well received by your peers once published, does that not bring into question Dr Pearce’s comments and see them in the light of bias rather than informed opinion?

diogenes profile image
diogenes in reply to linda96

I can't answer for him, but I think his rejection was based on ignorance, and an automatic unquestioning belief in the rightness of current assumptions. I suspect he'll have to retire and leave the scene without seeing the light. Fascinating though to find out whether new work has had any influence at all - via the upcoming guidelines.

linda96 profile image
linda96 in reply to diogenes

Ignorance assumes bias early in its development phase.

Good luck sir with the publication of this new paper, I look forward to reading it as soon as it appears.

Excellent news, and well done! Blow your trumpet loud! 🎉 x

Thank you! Brilliant step forward, we hope.

Thank you so much for all your work on this. Once published we can direct ignorant GPs and endos to this paper and say it has been published in a respected journal. Thank you again for your endeavours to help us all to get well - we know we stand a chance of being well again, if the medics will let us and help rather than hinder our recoveries.

Excellent news and very well done to you and your team. I love the concluding paragraph. Sums up my views on the topic very eloquently.

Music to my ears that is a quite brilliant conclusion!

Well done! This is brilliant news, thank you so much for all the work you and your colleagues have done.👏👏👏

👏 I'm looking forward to reading this.. take heed gp's

Excellent. The BMJ should be ashamed of itself for rejecting this. I think that last sentence alone was probably enough for Dr Pearce &Co to throw it on the reject pile.

Thank you to all who worked on this - "sophisticated and highly articulate" sounds perfect! Blow that trumpet

loudly and drown out the voices of the naysayers....they need to understand only this can be the future.

You are all stars shining light into a dark place

I look forward to reading the published version



Working behind the scenes. Great news that someone is presenting the argument and even better that someone is listening. A result!

Well said! I am looking forward to reading the paper in full, when it’s published.

My grateful thanks to you and your colleagues and pleased to have you on our side.

Thank you

Brilliant! Thank you for such an articulate and reasoned statement of the plight we who suffer face on a daily basis. One hopes that it will lead the powers that be to shift their archaic belief in the diety of the doctor and will allow them to see that it is the people who experience thyroid issues who are the authority on their symptoms and, therefore, deserve to be listened to with respect. It is, after all, a two way street. I look forward to reading the full article.

Thank you Diogenes. I am looking forward to giving a copy to my GP and MP as well as having a good read myself.

Brilliant and thank you! Hopefully the tide is turning and we shall be able to jump in and relax rather than nervously dipping a toe in in case someone is watching!

Excellent, I look forward to reading it.

Thank you!

Exciting news. Kudos on the reviewers' remarks! I have to say my doctors never seemed to swing away from "fear of drug-induced thyrotoxicosis" and have always continued to hide behind the guidelines with that maddening smugness we know so well.

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