What readers read

What My Web Site Tells Me About Readers.

By —— Bio and Archives--December 2, 2007

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“You should have a web site, doctor”, I’ve been told a thousand times. My reply has always been “But that means I’ll have to add something every week, and I’m busy enough!”  Curiosity, however, eventually got the better of me and a site was created several months ago. So apart from triggering my depression, what has it told me about you?


First, congratulations! It’s evident many of you are interested in preventive medicine. I thought the column linking lack of vitamin C to heart disease was the most important column I’d ever written. This topped the list with the most hits.

The next big hit, “Do you want Ford or Cadillac Vitamins?”. I wrote this column after a team of nutritionists reported that multivitamin mineral preparations were not all equal. (See the web site http://www.vrp.com)

The huge surprise was number three, the fart column. In effect, everything you   wanted to know about farts, but were afraid to ask! I’m happy you’ve kept your sense of humour in this tension filled world. But I wondered, why so few hits on “The Broken Male Organ”? I couldn’t stop laughing while writing that column even though 7 newspapers in the U.S. bible belt didn’t share the humour, and fired me!

As you might suspect, since heart disease is the number one killer, these columns were high priority.  Especially the one stating that waist measurement, a simple technique we all can do, is one of the best indicators of cardiovascular disease. Hopefully more people have received this message on how to prevent heart disease.

Prevention was also apparent in the columns dealing with sexually transmitted disease. One of the best read, “Should you sit on a public toilet seat?” Most authorities say don’t worry about it. But researchers have found herpes present on seats hours after being used by infected persons. Also well read, “Make love like porcupines, very, very carefully.”

Cancer columns were also in the interest zone. Particularly, the one “How foods can fight cancer”. But the article stressing the preventive benefits of colonoscopy in diagnosing colon polyps before they become cancerous, was way down the list. Predictable, I guess. But read this one and get smart.

I discovered large numbers of readers, particularly women, were suffering from recurrent urinary infections. This article got lots of hits. It told of a simple solution called, Cranberry Women’s Formula, and how it could decrease this problem. (See the web site http://www.fruitessentials.com )

Sex, of course, was not last on the list. Readers liked, “Why sex is good for you”. And to many, realizing that someday they might be living in a senior facility, the column on “Pornography in a Danish Nursing Home”, struck a high note.

Neither was alcohol last on the list. “Why I’m not a teetotaler” and “Why there should be a pub in every hospital” enjoyed a good response. And many also wanted to know why James Bond always demanded that his Martini’s be made a certain way. 

So what were the least sought after columns? Not too many were excited about the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning, even though it kills people every year and is totally preventable. Nor were whiplash injuries, lead poisoning and informed consent about surgical procedures, high on the list. And there’s been so much written about oral contraceptives that this topic now bores everyone.

Why was I depressed? Everyone likes to believe their books will be best sellers. But   “The Healthy Barmaid”, and my memoir “You’re Going To Do What?”, were far down the list. So I said to my wife, (who is also my editor), why am I such a failure with books? She replied, “Why would anyone want to pay $15.00 for your books?”  Wives can be cruel!

How successful is the web site? Obviously, readers enjoy being able to read past columns they’ve missed and have access to my e-mail address. Fortunately, few have written pages of symptoms and asked me to prescribe the best treatment which, by law, I cannot do.

So how would I rate my web site after just a few months? For one thing I’ll enjoy never hearing again, “Doctor, why don’t you have a web site?”


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Dr. Gifford Jones -- Bio and Archives | Comments

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker’s website is: Docgiff.com

My book, “90 + How I Got There” can be obtained by sending $19.95 to:
Giff Holdings, 525 Balliol St, Unit # 6,Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1E1


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