Monday, 20 October 2014

New diseases: new?

Enrique Gavilán is a family physician who has a habit of providing good professional quality "material" on Twitter, especially with regards to evidence in overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

On this occasion, I have chosen a tweet from Dr Gavilán which refers to a work published in "PLOS Medicine" that analyzes 16 studies where there have been criteria changes in the diagnostic definitions of common diseases such as: hypertension, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), COPD and dementia, among others.

One finding of the study was that these changes in criteria were mainly in three directions: creation of pre-conditions, lowering superior analytical values ​​and introduction of methods of early diagnosis. Another discovery is that these changes in criteria, which only serve to increase the legion of people affected by supposedly pathological conditions, are not accompanied by evaluations of the negative or even harmful impact to the health of "new patients". And there's a final finding: many of these studies have been developed by researchers with an economic interest linked to pharmaceutical companies directly involved in the proposed criteria changes.

Jordi Varela

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