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EDITORIAL Table of Contents   
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 93-94
Anaesthetist- A Scientist?

Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Relief, Wockhardt Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560 076., India

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How to cite this article:
Chakravarthy MR. Anaesthetist- A Scientist?. Ann Card Anaesth 2007;10:93-4

How to cite this URL:
Chakravarthy MR. Anaesthetist- A Scientist?. Ann Card Anaesth [serial online] 2007 [cited 2021 Jan 26];10:93-4. Available from:

"Real knowledge, like everything else of value, is not to be obtained easily. It must be worked for, studied for, thought for, and, more that all, must be prayed for"

Thomas Arnold

Publication of medical research work from India in peer-reviewed journals has been discouraging. India produces less than 0.2 papers per million population (the ratio of papers presented / population in millions is the true representation of research output of a nation). To cite an example, 4876 health papers were published in the PubMed from India in the year 2002. Of these, publications in cardiovascular science numbered just 146 (3.6%). [1] An educated guess would be that the number of publications from cardiac anaesthesia among these publications might be even lesser. Overall, India's share in the medical literature is not only much less than that of many other countries, both advanced and middle level, but also much less than that of India's share of the literature in physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering. [2]

The representation of research work in anaesthesia from the Indian scientific community at the international conferences has not been very encouraging either. [3] In the 13 th World Congress of Anaesthesiology held in 2004, the total number of scientific papers presented was 1997. India ranked seventh, based on absolute number of presentations among the ten most actively participating nations after Japan, France, USA, China, Spain and Brazil. Although India was in the seventh position, it figured among the countries whose publishing ratio was a mere <0.2 papers to a million population. At the World Congress of Anaesthesiology in the years 2000 and 2004, the total number of papers presented from India was 45 and 81. At the American Society of Anesthesiologists meet, India figured 21st in 2000 with 5 papers and 17th in 2004 with 9 papers.

One of the main reasons for inadequate scientific representation from India is lack of sufficient research funding. The problem is not unique to India. A recent thorough analysis of anaesthesiology physician-scientists [4],[5] listed three important adverse factors. Firstly, the lack or inadequate research training of most physician anaesthetists, secondly, the disproportionately weaker funding of anaesthesia research as compared with other clinical specialties, particularly paedatrics and internal medicine, and lastly the low "peer" acceptance of anaesthetists as full fledged clinical scientists by other medical specialists. Previous publications [6],[7] indicated a similar trend of "relative" decline of scientific output, as measured by publications in leading professional journals of anaesthesiology and other clinical specialties from major American and European countries.

Perhaps, it seems that there is a need for the anaesthetists from India to produce more scientific work. This should entail making academicians of anaesthetists right from the start when the students start training. The 'dissertation' that postgraduates in anaesthesiology submit must contain the appropriate hypothesis, methodology, statistical methods and discussion. The 'guides' should themselves be academicians, who are uncompromising in scientific research. Involving teachers with academic minds should be encouraged to train the guides. Concession in methodology and statistics should be shunned completely. As an incentive to the scientific work, the bureaucracy and administrators should encourage research and publications; this also should contribute to selection to higher posts. In this respect, it is encouraging to note that the educational institutions such as National Board of Education insist that institutions intent on training postgraduates in various medical super-specialties must dwell on research and publication.

The arrival of medical tourism to India has heralded a new era of true international class medical care made available to all patients. One important tangent of this phenomenon is the arrival of sophisticated equipments, which were unavailable to the clinicians in India. This has made life of an academic clinician easier. Data collection, documentation and analysis have not only become easier and accurate but also necessary (to provide details to the overseas healthcare insurance companies). Overall, the atmosphere and the circumstances seem to be conducive to produce more anaesthetic research and we must capitalize on it.

The journals originating from India should strive to achieve international standards; citations will follow. The upward trajectory of 'Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia' is a testimony to what 'young' journals can achieve. I am fortunate to inherit the journal at this prominent juncture. The matter of our journal being indexed in the National Library of Medicine is a subject of great pride to all the cardiac anaesthetists of India. It is a record of sorts for a young association such as the Indian Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Anaesthesiologists to get their official organ a respectable status in a short period of time. The credit of catapulting the journal to high orbit goes to my two esteemed predecessors. I wish to maintain the current high standard of the journal and look forward to delve into the interesting times ahead in store for medical publication. I am confident that the idea of anaesthetists donning the garb of a scientist is not utopian.

'May you live in interesting times' is an old Chinese expression - it is pertinent to us at this juncture and probably refers to the opportunities available to the Indian clinicians in the dynamic times ahead.

   References Top

1.Dandona L, Sivan YS, Jyothi MN, Bhaskar VS, Dandona R. The lack of public health research output from India. BMC Public Health 2004; 25:55.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Laszlo Gyermek. Reflections on anesthesia research based on the themes and productivity of major meetings. The Internet Journal of Anesthesiology 2007;12:1.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Swinn DA, Balser JR. Anesthesia physician scientists in academic medicine. Anesthesiology 2006; 104: 170-178.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Knight PR, Warltrier DC. Anesthesia residency programs for physician scientists. (Editorial View) Anesthesiology 2006; 104: 1-4.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Byrne E. The physician scientist: An endangered breed? (Editorial). Intern Med J 2004; 34: 75.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Boldt J, Maleck W, Koetter KP. Which countries publish in important anesthesia and critical care journals? Anesth Analg 1999; 88: 1175-1180.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
7.Arunachalam S. Does India perform medical research in areas where it is most needed? Natl Med J India 1998; 11: 27-34.  Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  

Correspondence Address:
Murali R Chakravarthy
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Relief, Wockhardt Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560 076.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9784.37933

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1 Scientific publications from India-On the right trajectory
Chakravarthy, M.
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