Podcast: ShowMoreSpine.com campaign on osteoporosis overdiagnosis

Increasingly, I’m becoming more appreciative of, and am on the lookout for, alternative, creative approaches to reach the general public with messages to improve the public dialogue about health care interventions.

So when I went, for the second straight year, to the international Preventing Overdiagnosis conference, which was in Barcelona this year, a new social movement campaign caught my attention.


It’s called ShowMoreSpine…with its own Twitter hashtag – #ShowMoreSpine – and a website, ShowMoreSpine.com, and videos and animations and links to other reading resources and more. It’s addressing overdiagnosis of show-more-spine-300x219osteoporosis, with an eye on changing clinical guidelines that the campaigners think amount to disease-mongering.

Of all the members of the team, which includes Finnish orthopedist Teppo Järvinen, Canadian drug policy analyst Alan Cassels (who’s also one of our contributors), Malcolm Willett (whose art you may have seen on the covers of The BMJ), and others, I chose to do a podcast interview with social media guru/social change agent Ajay Puri. Listen to our conversation:


Our next podcast will feature a researcher who uses music video parodies to get his message across.

Other resources on the ShowMoreSpine campaign:

  • Dr. Teppo Järvinen, video interview when his article,”Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes,” appeared in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

  • One of my favorite BMJ covers by Malcolm Willett (a member of the ShowMoreSpine team), depicting “The idolatry of the surrogate” – or how doctors (and through them, the general public) often bow to surrogate markers or surrogate endpoints, which have their limitations, as we’ve pointed out in one of our Toolkit primers.


Thanks to The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation for providing us with a grant to produce these podcasts for one year, funding which is coming to an end. We will continue to produce the podcasts whenever possible in the future.

All episodes of our podcasts are archived on this page on HealthNewsReview.org.

Credit: podcast editor Mitch Skinner

Music credit: “Time Has Come Today,” by The Chambers Brothers (One of my ’60s flashback favorites)

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Comments (2)

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Lisa Leger

October 11, 2016 at 9:10 pm

I admire your work. Here is a CME from Medscape where clinicians are being taught how to explain risk and benefits to patients. thought your team would want to have a look:


    Gary Schwitzer

    October 12, 2016 at 10:41 am


    Thanks for your note.

    Our next podcast, scheduled for early next week (week of October 17) will feature risk literacy guru Gerd Gigerenzer of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy in Berlin. He has done a lot of work with physicians on risk literacy issues.

    Gary Schwitzer