I’ve done it. Usually, though, it’s done to illustrate, for instance, normal morphology, for contrast with your experimental results. Or as a key for the anatomy. Or even sometimes as a small, tasteful bit of decoration, as long as it doesn’t detract or distract from the data. In this poster, Use of yeast lysate in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis by Vrzal et al., presented at the 8th Vaccine & ISV Congress in Philadelphia, I’m rather at a loss to figure out the purpose of these illustrations.
This is apparently a test of a commercial product, Candivac, used to treat yeast infections in women. I was puzzled by the results, too. They admitted 75 women into the study who’d had vulvovaginal inflammation 4 times in the past year, but weren’t experiencing any problems at the start of the trial…and then all of them got the treatment. There were no controls. I guess it was supposed to be a comparison with previous patient history, which was all presented in a couple of boring tables of numerical data.
I would have used the space to include some somewhat more informative diagrams to illustrate exactly what phenomenon I was summarizing, or perhaps illustrations of the actual procedure used, which probably didn’t involve putting the women in a bikini and sunglasses and asking them to smile for the camera.
But then I don’t have a marketing department that’s doing layouts for their advertising campaign.