Health News Review
  • Oct 9 2013

    Beware the polyp police

    … most-studied and widely-used screening programs (for breast and prostate cancer, for instance) have faced evidence-based arguments about whether they were doing more harm than good. The main issue has been the possibility of overdiagnosis. In the case of colon cancer, because most of us will have polyps and very few of us will die from them, screening is also liable to result in overdiagnosis and overtreatment. If and when polyps are found, peop…

  • Oct 30 2012

    Were AP and AFP reporting on the same Lancet mammography paper?

    … have been misleading women for the past two decades by giving too rosy a picture of the benefits,” said Karsten Jorgensen, a researcher at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen who has previously published papers on overdiagnosis. “It’s important they have at least acknowledged screening causes substantial harms,” he said, adding that countries should now re-evaluate their own programs. In the United States, a governme…

  • Oct 3 2012

    9-part series on over-diagnosis

    Ray Moynihan, a terrific health care journalist who is now pursuing his PhD on overdiagnosis and working as a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University in Australia, kicks off the first of a nine-part series, “Over-diagnosis Epidemic” on website. The first part is an introduction, “Preventing over-diagnosis:  how to stop harming the healthy.” Other colleagues author the subsequent parts in the serie…

  • Feb 4 2014

    My weekly fix from Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Jut a few gems from the February 3 edition: “Oh great. Another phase 2 study of a pricey monoclonal antibody to address the “epidemic of osteoporosis,” i.e. a pharma-driven epidemic of overdiagnosis in older women. With a nice surrogate end point: bone mineral density, which bears an oblique relationship to fracture risk. And, in a market crowded with competing cheap agents, a placebo comparator.” “The editor of the NEJM, Jeff…

  • Nov 21 2012

    General health checkups find lots of new problems but don’t cut morbidity/mortality

    …“are that those who come [in for a checkup] tend to be the ‘worried well,’ who may bear a high risk for being diagnosed with false positives or negatives. Indeed, [the study authors] suggested that there was overdiagnosis — that routine checks tend to pick up conditions that were treated with no obvious benefit in terms of [illness] or mortality.” In his published commentary, MacAuley concluded that “policy sho…

  • Dec 3 2012

    Critic calls American Psychiatric Assoc. approval of DSM-V “a sad day for psychiatry”

    … stigma this will cause. 8) DSM 5 has created a slippery slope by introducing the concept of Behavioral Addictions that eventually can spread to make a mental disorder of everything we like to do a lot. Watch out for careless overdiagnosis of internet and sex addiction and the development of lucrative treatment programs to exploit these new markets. 9) DSM 5 obscures the already fuzzy boundary been Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the worries of …

  • Oct 17 2013

    Omega-3 fatty acids & prostate cancer: study and stories off-base

    …d.  First of all, the absolute overall risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer was less than 5%.  Most men in the study were diagnosed based on an abnormal PSA test result, which is known to markedly increase the risk of overdiagnosis of prostate cancer–that is, finding cancers that would never cause harm during a man’s lifetime.  Overall, only 156 (18.7%) of cancers were high-grade (potentially aggressive). Furthermore, there were jus…

  • Feb 6 2013

    Five year survival rates can mislead – message to medical educators, medical journals, journalists and the public

    … lives?  For two reasons. The first is lead time bias. Earlier detection implies that the time of diagnosis is earlier; this alone leads to higher survival at five years evenwhen patients do not live any longer. The second is overdiagnosis. Screening detects abnormalities that meet the pathological definition of cancer but that will never progress to cause symptoms or death (non-progressive or slow growing cancers). The higher the number of overd…

  • May 28 2013

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

    …orted and shared, so that the full picture of the benefits and harms of tested interventions can be seen (see, for example, Conferences hosted by PharmedOut ( and Avoiding Overdiagnosis ( It concludes: “The largest challenge may be to recognize and prioritize mental health globally—with the requisite political visibility, funding, research, and at…

  • Sep 9 2013

    When the word “cancer” corrupts thought and action. Labeling hurts. The words matter.

    …ancer in the United States, 1973-2002,” he and a co-author concluded that the increase was not a jump in the true occurrence of thyroid cancer, but rather, finding earlier abnormalities that might turn out to be benign. Overdiagnosis.  Overtreatment.  Impact on treatment decisions.  Yes, the wording matters. ——————– Tweet Follow us on Twitter:…

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