Podcast: A Finn with a bone to pick about osteoporosis screening & treatment

Teppo JarvinenWith article headlines such as “Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes,” Dr. Teppo Järvinen appears on the international “Too Much Medicine” stage with his concerns about the way osteoporosis is diagnosed and treated.

Järvinen is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Helsinki, Finland. I interviewed him at the Preventing Overdiagnosis 2015 conference at the National Institutes of Health.

I think you’ll enjoy listening to him, while learning why he thinks the emperor has no clothes.

Links to related material:

Music used in this episode:

“Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood
“My Medicine” by Snoop Dogg featuring Willie Nelson
“Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi
“Entry of the Gladiators” by Julius Fucik, as performed by the Philip Jones Ensemble
“Sur le Fil” by Yann Tiersen

“Come Love” by The Southside Aces

Thanks to Cristeta Boarini, who always makes these podcasts sound better than what I’d planned, with her expert editing.


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Comments (2)

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November 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Sorry, but the music is just a distraction and the editing is amateurish. While I think it is important to expose overdiagnosis, over-prescribing, and to bring forward good evidence for unnecessary procedures, I do not think this podcast is a very good example of any of that. I do not think Dr Jarvinen is wrong, but the way this is presented plays right into the narrative of the alternative (quack) health crowd whose mantra is: “doctors just pass out pills and never look at the whole person”. I couldn’t get the name of the drug he used as an example, so will look to see if there is a transcript. Nor did I get a clear idea of the extent of the problem. I just had my first one scan and was informed that I have pre-osteoporosis (osteoporia–sp?), but was not prescribed anything; nor has anyone in my age group, or even the very old women I know. I was told to try to get more calcium in my diet. Skip the music, ask more questions, and cover the topic more thoroughly, please. I honestly thought I had tuned into some “Big-Pharma” conspiracy webcast and that next you would be telling me to throw out my bp meds. I am a skeptic and a fan of science based medicine (in fact I demand it), and I read your newsletter, but the podcasts are mostly disappointing. I will read further as I AM intrigued by this topic, but you have done little to clarify anything.


    Gary Schwitzer

    November 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    First, why don’t you post your name? Our comments policy states:

    “We ask that all commenters leave their full name and provide an actual email address in case we feel we need to contact them. We may delete any comment left by someone who does not leave their name and a legitimate email address.”

    It’s easy to take potshots at our podcasts when you don’t even use your own name.

    We’ve posted your comment, nonetheless, because it is, at this moment, one of a kind – the first negative feedback we’ve received about any of our 8 podcasts.

    The name of the drug Dr. Jarvinen mentioned is alendronate.

    You cite your own example and that of others you know as if those cases are representative of the population. You must know how unscientific that implication is.

    When you write, “cover the topic more thoroughly,” besides a 15 minute podcast, did you not see or read the five links to related material that discuss this topic in far more depth for readers who are interested?

    I’m sorry to hear you’re disappointed in the podcasts. As I mentioned, you are the very first to report such disappointment. It’s clear that the majority of listeners appreciate the chance to hear from people like Drs. Otis Brawley, Laura Esserman, Jean Silver-Isenstadt, James Rickert, Saurabh Jha, John Yudkin, Hanna Bloomfield and Teppo Jarvinen in this podcast format. Thousands have listened to these so far. But you can’t be all things to all people, can you?

    It is ironic that this first negative comment comes in on the same day that the National Institute of Health Care Management Foundation announced that our project had received a grant to continue producing these podcasts for a full year.