We’re Skeptical: USA Health “Breakthroughs” Suspect

The most recent USA Today Weekend edition – claiming a readership of nearly 50 million — offers “13 scientific breakthroughs that could change everything” in medical care.

Although the newspaper offers a blithe caveat that “there’s no guarantee, of course,” nine of the 13 magic bullets in the article were basically ads for drug or device manufacturers. Two of the remaining four were about advances in genetic engineering and only two were about improving health through behavior: the value of breastfeeding to prevent obesity in children as they grow, and surviving breast cancer through exercise.

The others deal with new drugs or machinery that may or may not do more good than harm, that are not yet fully proven and that are designed to help people recover from or repair ailments they might have prevented in the first place if more money were spent — or made — on researching human behavior. The design of these “breakthroughs” is quite simple: $

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