Issue: BCMJ, vol. 52, No. 10, December 2010, Page 500 Letters

One ophthalmologist sent me a consultation letter saying that she was go­ing to do HRT on a patient. Another ophthalmologist wrote that our patient has CME. In my dialect, HRT is hormone replacement therapy, and CME is continuing medical education. I have to write a letter to the specialist to find out what he or she means.

One of my professors disliked abbreviations and told the following story: A man ran toward a bus stop as the bus pulled up and got on just in time. Panting, he sat down beside a woman and said, “TGIF.” She looked at him and said, “Ess aitch eye tee.” Taken aback, the man said, “I’m sorry, I guess you didn’t know what I said. I said, “TGIF.” That means, “Thank God it’s Friday.” The woman said, “I know that. What I said was, “Sorry honey, it’s Thursday.”

Please, if you are writing to someone who is not in your specialty, write out in full any technical term (TT) the first time, before you use the abbreviation for the TT on its own.
—Robert Shepherd, MD

Robert Shepherd, MD. Abbreviations. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 10, December, 2010, Page(s) 500 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

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