A recurring theme

A couple of items caught my eye this morning, each having to do with longstanding medical procedures now being found to be useless, or nearly so. First to the items: PSA test ‘all but useless’ for detecting prostate caner and Removing tonsils has little benefit.

One of the great promises of managed care, aka HMOs, PPOs, etc. was that in an effort to save money, they would rationalize medicine by examining what ‘tried-and-true’ methods actually worked, which didn’t, and which were counterproductive. They never got around to much of that, but it’s interesting to realize that the vast majority of medicine taught to state-of-the-art med students at places like Harvard, Stanford and UCLA has never been tested in controlled, double-blind-style experiments. We set a broken arm a certain way because it’s been found over time to be what seems to work best. But that’s a far cry from saying it’s the proven best available way to fix arms.

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