On Kevin O’Brien’s orthodontic blog

Impartiality is a rare quality. Especially in a competitive, market-driven and technologically advanced field of orthodontics. Today I decided to review one of the most valuable online resources about the specialty. In my view, it provides the most impartial information on the most important orthodontic topics.

Kevin O’Brien’s orthodontic blog is a weekly updated web-resource which reviews the most recent orthodontic papers in order to provide the most up-to-date clinical implications. It is run by Kevin O’Brien, Professor Emeritus at the University of Manchester, and Professor Padhraig Fleming from Queen Mary University of London who recently joined the project. Occasionally other prominent (and not much prominent) orthodontists are getting a chance to publish their guest posts.

I first came across Kevin O’Brien’s orthodontic blog in spring 2016. I was on my second year after residency. No doubt, the first few years are a real challenge for a young clinician. Everything seems achievable, but very few things are actually getting achieved. For the most part, the blog attracted me because of its clarity. Classically structured blog posts – “What did the researchers ask? What did they find? What do I think?”helped me to took many correct clinical decisions. The other aspect that appealed to me was the compactness of the posts. Every text is to be digested in less than a couple of minutes. 

In February 2017, I asked Kevin if I can contribute by translating him into Russian, my native language. He agreed, and I got involved into an exciting activity: each week I would receive a new piece by email and with much enthusiasm convert it into Cyrillic. Russian audience perceived a new channel of orthodontic information very well and this activity of mine lasted for almost three years. At some point, the blog had been translated into 8 languages. I made over a hundred translations into Russian.

I think the translations have stopped for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I had been always questioning myself during the process if I am doing the right thing? Don’t I just increase the schism between the international orthodontic science and very young and quite isolated Russian orthodontics by fencing the original source with my translations? I was constantly puzzled and would occasionally ask Kevin the statistics. Secondly, I had gradually been becoming aware that more and more Russian orthodontists are getting quite fluent in English and this decreases the value of what I do. Once Kevin wrote me that for a long period the vast majority of the hits were to the English posts, therefore he decided to quit with the translations.

I am still immensely grateful for this experience. It enhanced my critical thinking letting clearly see things for what they truly are. Not too mention the fact that Kevin inspired me to start my own blog, this blog. And when I write a rather successful piece on a clinical subject it probably looks like a weak, bleak and childish version of his writing.

Last week, the book with my translations of Kevin’s blog posts found its way to the Russian analogue of Amazon, Ozon.ru. I hope this would stimulate the sales. More than that, I hope it would stimulate some readers to think. Despite the fact that I stay a big believer in English language for studying purposes, I hope my humble contribution could help the younger colleagues to wrap their minds around the nuts and bolts of orthodontics and enhance some of their future clinical decisions.

To stay impartial and add value to what I just wrote I want to state that all further funds I will receive from this edition I am going to donate for the technical support of Kevin O’Brien’s orthodontic blog. 

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