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Newsweek: Many common health treatments ineffective, harmful

We’ve been following the work of UNC’s Nortin Hadler for years on the issue of overtreatment.  For example, check out my interview from last year with Dr. Hadler regarding the ineffectiveness of most cardiac surgery.  This week’s Newsweek cover story is on the same topic.  Finally, the years of overwhelming evidence that many common screening procedures and medical treatments not only don’t work, but can actually be very harmful is coming out in the popular media:

Dr. Rita Redberg, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and editor of the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine, has no intention of having a screening mammogram even though her 50th birthday has come and gone. That’s the age at which women are advised to get one. But, says Redberg, they detect too many false positives (suspicious spots that turn out, upon biopsy, to be nothing) and tumors that might regress on their own, and there is little if any evidence that they save lives.

One Comment


  1. Alex O'Connor

    August 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I have good Doctors who do not treat many of my ailments. Even a good veterinarian sticks and animal in a quite place after illness or injury and lets the animal heal itself. We have this concept of medicine as fixing what is broken. That is not realistic. We are over treating, medicating, and testing. This is not only driving up the cost of medicine but causing more harm. We as consumers have to ask “is this really necessary” and we have to be comfortable with a wait and see approach. It takes being educated and understanding sometimes there is not a medical intervention.

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