Monday, October 18, 2010

Apparently It's Hate On Doctors Month

Two articles in major magazines this month taking medical science and doctors to task. Hard.

Discover Magazine's November issue has Reckless Medicine. The article is NOT online anywhere that I can find, so I typed up some of the better quotes to share with you.

Less than Half of Medical Decision Are Evidence Based

“A panel of experts convened in 2007 by the prestigious Institute of Medicine estimated that “well below half” of the procedures doctors perform and the decisions they make about surgeries, drugs, and tests have been adequately investigated and shown to be effective.”

Lack of Proper Research Kills More Than 2000 People a Day

“More than 770,000 American are injured or die each year from drug complications, including unexpected side effects, some of which might have been avoided if somebody had conducted the proper research.” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Financial Conflicts of Interest Are Rampant Among Doctors Publishing Studies

“A 2002 study in JAMA found that 87% of guideline authors received industry funding and 59% were paid by the manufacturer of a drug affected by the guidelines they wrote.”

“A report published this year found that authors of medical journal article favorable to the controversial diabetes drug Avandia were three to six times as likely to have financial ties to the manufacturer as were the authors of articles that were neutral or unfavorable.”

Heart Stents Actually Kill Patients

Stenting is not as effective or as safe as medicine likes to claim. “One study, conducted in France and published in 2006 in the NEJM had to be stopped because stenting was killing patients. Another large study out this year found that 6.4% of those receiving stents had a stroke or died within 4 years.”

Lack of Critical Thinking in Medicine

“…In many cases, physicians perform surgeries, prescribe drugs, and give patients tests that are not backed by sound evidence because doctors are not trained to analyze scientific data says Michael Wilkes, vice dean of education at UC Davis.”

“Most medical students don’t learn how to think critically,” Wilkes says."

Note: I thought this was kind of harsh. I have seen some seriously scary inabilities to connect easy dots at times BUT doctors are not single celled mouthbreathers either.

Statins Don't Work

“50 men at risk for a heart attack would have to treated with statins for 5 years to prevent a single heart attack or stroke. 98 of 100 men treated for five years would receive no benefit from the drug, yet they would all be exposed to risk of its potentially serious and fatal side effects, such as muscle breakdown and kidney failure.”

Number to Help vs. Number to Harm

“Doctors would have to treat 40,000 patients with strep throat to prevent a single instance of acute rheumatic fever. However, 8 patients would suffer a near-fatal or fatal allergic reaction-the number to harm.”

Companies Manipulate Studies to Turn Them Into Drug Marketing Vehicles

“…concern turned to outrage when two employees of a communications company came forward with documents showing that they had been paid to ghostwrite some of the Tamiflu studies. They had been given explicit instruction to ensure a key message was embedded in the articles: Flu is a threat, and Tamiflu is the answer.”

“There was no proof that Tamiflu reduced serious flu complications like pneumonia or death.”

THEN, as if that wasn't enough, for the one-two punch, we have an article in The Atlantic which is online. Check out Lies Damned Lies and Medical Science.

Maybe some of us pain-in-the-tuckus patients aren't really the problem. Looks like we are right to question question question and research research research.

I look forward to the med blog analysis of these articles.

By the way, do try to read the entire Reckless Medicine article. It's about 6 pages long and full of information. What I posted here isn't even the half of it.



  2. Have you read What are your impressions of the site. I would think that is an excellent site. Your supplements etc are totally different from their recommendations. It would be nice to know your impressions on that site. My brother has very recently discovered to have Hashimoto's. The advice on there website seemed quite good.

  3. Pain-in-the-tukus? Hilarious. That's exactly how I feel about myself as a patient.

    I think questioning is a very good thing and that patients should be encouraged to ask many questions about their treatment plan. Yes, this would take more time, but if we don't ask about efficacy and alternatives, we open ourselves to risk.

  4. Today, "medicine" is an extension of pharmaceutical industry. So, what else would anyone expect?

  5. I stumbled on your blog today when I was trying to find information on a good PCOS diet. I haven't read everything you've posted yet, but I am SO with you on what I have read!

    I was diagnosed with PCOS last year, after having symptoms for YEARS! I ran into doctor after doctor who just looked at me and told me to eat better and lose weight. If I was lucky, they'd check my thyroid. No one even suggested PCOS (even though I had rapid, stubborn weight gain, ridiculously painful periods or just no period at all for months). Last year, I asked my OB/GYN to test me and had to literally ARGUE with her about it...she even tried to tell me there was no lab test and I'm looking at her thinking, umm, I'm a laboratory technologist and you're trying to tell me there's no test for it?! BS! Anyway, she finally did agree (not sure why it was a problem since it comes out of MY insurance) and lo and behold, my testosterone was high! I HATE that it took so long for someone to take me seriously, and that PCOS isn't understood by medical professionals at all!

    Anyway, rant over :)


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