Critical Condition


Carrie, I had an exchange with Dr. David Gratzer yesterday about the news, which to me seemed like an obvious caution against health frenzies — in this case, the previous insistence women get mammograms early and often.

He agreed and added:

there is another point, too.  The practice of medicine isn’t always clear-cut.  We did many mammograms because it seemed right; now the evidence suggests otherwise.  When I was in residency the treatment for depressed Manics was Prozac (or her sister drugs) — turns out that that intervention is not only highly problematic but is actually bested by placebo (according to a landmark New England Journal of Medicine paper).

For those on the left, this sort of thing is unsettling — it undermines their claim that medicine will be better if only we appointed government officials to help guide decisions (like Obama’s proposed IMAC); for those on the right, this sort of thing is unsettling because it shows how challenging it will be to have better transparency and consumer empowerment.


Health policy, it turns out, can be interesting.