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  • Writer's pictureSarah Schafer, MD

What are all those numbers in parentheses?

Updated: May 18, 2021

You have probably noticed that a lot of numbers inside parentheses are scattered throughout the website and blog. These are citations. Citations tell you the specific references that I use to back up my work. To make things easier, I provide direct links to abstracts or entire articles when possible. Simply click on the underlined number. When a direct link is not possible, such as citation 10, the information can be found on the citations page.

While some journal articles are a bit technical for most patients, the abstracts (summaries) explain the main points. Most clinicians can order articles through their medical library. Some health libraries will photocopy and send articles to patients free of charge. I have used the Stanford Health Library for this in the past.

The citations can be very helpful for self-advocacy, especially when addressing misperceptions about Sjogren’s. For example, if a clinician tells you that Sjogren’s is "just a dryness disease,” you may offer printouts of articles cited on the Always Systemic page. One good option is this Open Access (free) article that was written by two renowned Sjogren's experts:

Brito-Zeron and Ramos-Casals, Systemic Sjogrens: More Than a Sicca Disease. by Brito-Zeron and Ramos-Casals (24) <--- click here to access the article.

Once you print the article, you can emphasize your point of Sjogen's being systemic by using a highlighter on these sentences in the section, “Future Directions”:

“The clinical approach of patients with pSS has traditionally focused on the study and characterization of glandular involvement, even though pSS is undeniably more than a sicca disease. In fact, pSS is still diagnosed using criteria exclusively focused on glandular involvement, and this occurs despite the fact that a long list of extraglandular features involving the majority of organs and systems has been reported over the past 30 years.”

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