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A patient’s story: After research, a push back on thyroid surgery

February 17, 2015

By Julie Martinez
For the Lown Institute

I am a well-educated, athletic, well-insured, basically healthy 52-year-old woman. Up until seven years ago, I had outstanding health and avoided doctors’ offices and screening tests because I felt well and thought there was little to gain by seeing a doctor.

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CDC and Tamiflu: When are we going to look at the facts?

February 17, 2015

By Andy Lazris
for the Lown Institute

When CDC director Tom Frieden stated unequivocally that neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs), such as Tamiflu, should be given to all elderly people with upper respiratory infection symptoms even before they have documented flu because NIs save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and curb disease spread in nursing homes, I was appalled. Having read the Cochrane report on NIs, it seemed clear to me that at best Tamiflu was ineffective, and at worst it could cause more harm than good.

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Over-diagnosis of thyroid cancer in Korea

February 13, 2015

By Sang Won Shin, MD
For the Lown Institute

In 1997, in the small town of Young-kwang in the southwest, a doctor opened a private internal medicine clinic. For some reason, he decided to provide patients ultrasonography screening for thyroid cancer. It did not take long for him to be admired for saving many lives by detecting early thyroid cancers. The news rapidly spread to the nearby towns and cities. And clinics in other areas subsequently joined in the frenzy of detecting thyroid cancers with ultrasonography screening. It was not a bad thing for doctors to detect early cancers since that supports them and they gain a reputation for saving lives.

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Opaque Costs Lead to Embarrassment

February 12, 2015
By Margie Coloian

Among the must-haves Steven Weinberger, MD envisions for our healthcare system is transparency of costs. The cost of individual care is a mystery for most patients. The mix of copays, co-insurance, deductibles, facility fees—are all nebulous—until the bill arrives weeks after a medical encounter.

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Fixing overtreatment: Lone rangers need not apply

February 11, 2015
By Shannon Brownlee
KevinMD

Why is it so hard to make a dent in the huge volume of unnecessary health care? In the U.S., about 20 to 30 percent of the medical interventions American patients receive are useless and often harmful, and waste hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

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ViewPoint: Health policy should focus on keeping people, communities healthy

February 6, 2015
By David Martin
Boston Business Journal

In 1965 Dr. Jack Geiger founded a community health center in an impoverished area of Mississippi. Many of the children who came to him for medical care were malnourished and he begin writing them prescriptions for food. Some government official was dispatched to tell him that prescribing food was not covered under their health insurance program and he responded, “The last time I looked in my textbooks,” he said, “the specific therapy for malnutrition was food.”

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Health Continues to Be Too Medical

February 9, 2015

By Margie Coloian

“Patients need to trust their doctor,” insists America Bracho, MD. “Without trust, the level of influence that a provider has is limited.” Bracho believes that good doctor-patient relationships promote healthy lifestyles, the basic foundation for good health. Many medical conditions are often linked to unhealthy lifestyles—like poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.

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