Belief vs Evidence in Today’s Medicine

In this essay by David Newman M.D., author of Hippocrates’ Shadow, he points out multiple instances where, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary, physician use techniques and drugs that no only are not the best but can cause patient harm.

from the New York Times April 2, 2009

…Studies show that the early administration of beta-blockers to heart attack victims does not save lives, and occasionally causes dangerous heart failure. While two studies support the use of beta-blockers after heart attack, there are 26 studies that found no survival benefit to administering beta-blockers early on. Moreover, in 2005, the largest, best study of the drugs showed that beta-blockers in the vulnerable, early hours of heart attacks did not save lives, but did cause a definite increase in heart failure. Remarkably, the medical community has continued to strongly recommend immediate beta-blocker treatment. Why? Because according to the theory of the straining heart, the treatment makes sense. It should work, even though it doesn’t. Ideology trumps evidence.

The practice of medicine contains countless examples of elegant medical theories that belie the best available evidence…

Dr. Newman goes on to discuss cough remedies, misuse of antibiotics, back surgery and arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritic knees.

much more via Well Blog New York Times

Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: