To whom it may concern:
I read with interest the article about Dr. Skalak’s research, but Mr. Jefferson’s university might be well advised to avoid making claims about the healing properties of magnets (“study demonstrates the healing value of magnets”), since the study most certainly did not demonstrate any healing value. At most, the study showed a reduction of edema after a specific inflammatory insult in rats. A good dose of corticosteroids can reduce edema, too, but certainly does not demonstrate healing value. In fact, just the opposite may occur through its secondary effects on immune response, collagen formation, etc. Dr. Skalak does not claim it has healing value, only that it may exert a biological effect ... a very different conclusion.
Such headlines may get readers, but if your goal is greater than simply readership (like establishing U.Va. as a center for credible health science and technology), a less sensational and more accurate title would be better. As it stands, every quack and late-night infomercial shill will now be touting “a University of Virginia study demonstrates the healing value of magnets.” Oh, brother ...
David C. Pearson, M.D. (U.Va. CLAS 1990)