Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Doctors Wise Up... Duh!

Recent studies have cast doubts on medical assumptions that lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease and normalizing blood sugar protects diabetics. “Wow, we really don't know as much as we think we do,” professor of medicine at Yale University Harlan Krumholz said in a Washington Post article (“Medication Under a Microscope”) this morning. "We definitely need to pause and reassess our assumptions about what is best for patients...clearly we have more to learn." No kidding! Scott M. Grundy of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said, "Drugs can be great, but they can have side effects...if you start piling on one drug after another, you can get into trouble." What a thought! And guess what? Now there is some doubt as to whether doctors should prescribe drugs for conditions that haven’t happened yet, as in, “pre-hypertension”, “pre-osteoporosis” and "pre-diabetic”. Although it is true, doctors haven’t gotten around to putting splints on legs before they get broken, plastic surgeons have been counseling for years that the time to get a facelift is before a facelift should be considered. In the medical community this is called preventative medicine—prescribing drugs that patients don’t need and ordering surgeries that are unnecessary. All of which might be forgiven if doctors were really looking out for the best interests of their patients. But these so-called best interests are incredibly lucrative for doctors, pharmaceutical firms and all hospital industries. "What's going on here is our research enterprise is almost completely controlled by the pharmaceutical industry," John Abramson said. He’s a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of the book "Overdosed America." Abramson went on to say, "It's their job to create a need for their products. Their job is not to maximize public health." "People are making a ton of money by selling the drugs and the monitoring equipment," Howard Brody, director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston said. "It distracts our patients from what really matters more, which may be getting more exercise or making lifestyle changes that ultimately may be more beneficial than obsessing about their blood sugar or playing with their little monitor device." The whole idea of preemptive strikes has worked so well in Republican circles in medical, pharmaceutical and war businesses, that if undertakers had a little more political clout we might see a trend toward pre-death burials to bolster the mortician industry.

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