Health News Review
  • Jun 7 2010

    AP: Overtreatment – more medical care isn’t always better

    The Associated Press, which sometimes may be viewed as only reacting to breaking news of the day, today published a timely and timeless feature explaining: “Anywhere from one-fifth to nearly one-third of the tests and treatments we get are estimated to be unnecessary, and avoidable care is costly in more ways than the bill: It may lead to dangerous side effects.” It’s timely because, on the heels of the New York Times’ cr…

  • May 28 2013

    Journal editors decry the paradox of mental health: overtreatment and under-recognition

    The editors of the journal PLoS Medicine today published an editorial, “The Paradox of Mental Health: Over-Treatment and Under-Recognition.” Excerpts: “On the one hand is over-treatment and over-medicalization of mental health issues, often fueled by a pharmaceutical industry interested in the broadening of the boundaries of “illness” and in the creation of more and wider diagnostic categories and thus markets for “selling sick…

  • May 28 2013

    Waste & Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension: overtreatment, industry influence

    Dr. Iona Heath, a retired general practitioner and member of the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners, writes in JAMA Internal Medicine‘s “Less Is More” column about “Waste and Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension.” (subscription required for access to full text) This is a topic that receives very little attention. After all, who can argue with attempts for early intervention against “the si…

  • Jun 28 2010

    AP overtreatment series turns to last 6 months of life

    From today’s latest addition to this excellent series: “Americans increasingly are treated to death, spending more time in hospitals in their final days, trying last-ditch treatments that often buy only weeks of time, and racking up bills that have made medical care a leading cause of bankruptcies. More than 80 percent of people who die in the United States have a long, progressive illness such as cancer, heart failure or Alzheimer&…

  • Oct 22 2013

    When doctors don’t discuss harms of screening tests with patients

    Another important paper in the JAMA Internal Medicine “Less is More” series. “Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment: Evaluation of What Physicians Tell Their Patients About Screening Harms,” is by one of my risk communication gurus, Gerd Gigerenzer and colleague Odette Wegwarth. They surveyed 317 US men and women aged 50-69 years, a population with the highest exposure to screening programs. Their summary: Most participants …

  • Jul 25 2010

    Why do Minnesota patients get more low back MRIs?

    …Minnesotans’ bad backs. Snowbeck artfully captures the predictable rationalization and defensive responses coming from locals who don’t like what the data suggest. Because what they suggest is overuse leading to overtreatment. So here’s one attempt a provider makes to deflect the data: “The Medicare billing/claims data, which this report is generated from, would not capture conversations between a patient and provider t…

  • Jan 22 2013

    UK citizen’s jury advises on communication about the benefits and harms of breast screening

    …ergo a mammogram every three years. The current invitation letters and accompanying leaflets have been heavily criticised for failing to mention potential harms of breast screening, in particular the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment (http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b86). In response to this criticism, Sir Michael Richards, National Cancer Director for the NHS, asked eminent epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot to chair an independent commi…

  • Nov 10 2013

    NBC races the clock in a race to the bottom with anchormen & prostate cancer screening promotion

    …ing, most experience the same outcome and are, therefore, subjected to the harms of treatment for a much longer period of time. There is convincing evidence that PSA-based screening for prostate cancer results in considerable overtreatment and its associated harms.The USPSTF considered the magnitude of these treatment-associated harms to be at least moderate. Samadi said:  “We’re going to save a lot of men” by promoting th…

  • Nov 29 2012

    New poster child for disease-mongering? Do you have a pre-cold?

    One of our readers tipped us off to what he called “a new poster child for overtreatment.”  We’ll call it disease-mongering. It’s the website of the drug company promoting Zicam. The new pitch promotes Zicam for “pre-colds.” What’s a Pre-Cold™?, the website asks, anticipating our astute question. Well, as you can see, it’s a term that the drug company trademarked – they thought it was that cl…

  • Oct 19 2012

    Critics detect hype in “Bra Detects Breast Cancer” news

    …earlier and earlier in the process needs to go along with our ability to translate that into knowledge that will actually be lifesaving.  Otherwise we will see an increase in incidence, an additional rise in overdiagnosis and overtreatment, and perhaps no reduction in mortality – no additional lives saved. So a recognition of the role of this technology in the early detection field would be good.” Laura Nikolaides of NBCC responded: …




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