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October 16, 2007

What Will They Think Of Next?

Sadly, this may prove a controversial finding, but it turns out that one of the best and most reliable ways to lose weight is to...cut calories. Shocking, I know.

Meanwhile, in other health news, it turns out that yearly check-ups are overrated, and probably useless. The American College of Physicians is now recommending that "instead of an annual physical, healthy adults should undergo a much-streamlined exam that's focused on prevention every one to five years depending on a person's age, sex and medical profile." And some of what we're getting can even be harmful. Chest X-Rays are effective in detecting lung cancer, but not in decreasing mortality. And rectal exams are not effective as screening tools for prostate or rectal cancer, but do have certain, uh, downsides.

October 16, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Processed foods are high in calories and low in nutrients, so people will eat more cookies, potato chips, etc just to feel full.

Although, if you support Iowa and ADM, you should drink high fructose corn syrup straight from the bottle.

Posted by: stm177 | Oct 16, 2007 12:27:01 PM

There are some trendlines there..
Some validities...

But don't go overboard on the bandwagon too quick
or you might fall off*..

Disinterested observers often do bring new information to the table.
In this case - us...the patient.

[*decent 'mixed-'...funny how they pop up]

Posted by: has_te | Oct 16, 2007 12:38:40 PM

I wonder what Darryl Kile's family thinks of the proposal that people see their doctor less often.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Oct 16, 2007 1:33:37 PM

Didn't they figure out like 20 years ago that routine chest X-rays don't increase survival times or rates for lung cancer? Put simply, by the time it's big enough to be caught on an X-ray (about 1.5 cm or so), it's spread and will kill you within a year or so.

The big question now involves CT scans. There is a good bit of authority that routine scans do increase survival times -- though not necessarily 5 year survival rates. But is it because we just catch an inevitably fatal cancer earlier without postponing the date at which the patient will die (i.e., the guy is going to die in June 2010 regardless, it's just a case of finding out he has cancer in October 2007--meaning a survival time of 32 months--or July 2009 when he starts coughing up blood--meaning a survival time of 11 months)? Or does the early detection actually buy something other than a few years living with knowledge that you have a fatal disease (probably a bad thing)?

Posted by: Joe | Oct 16, 2007 1:37:40 PM

So, changing your diet results in an average weight loss of 11-19 pounds. Reuters doesn't tell us the average starting weights. But probably, according to the same report, you'll gain a few of those few lost pounds back. And that's pretty much it for the efficacy of dieting. Not exactly a life changing alteration of one's physique. I don't see very many ads touting a new diet that promises that after a year you'll weigh, "five, eight, or even eleven pounds less than you do now!" And this endorsement of dieting, tepid though it is, is brought to you by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Hmmm.

Posted by: quihana | Oct 16, 2007 1:49:20 PM

Ezra, the part about digital rectal exams being "not effective as screening tools" is an unsourced assertion by the reporter. If DRE has been discredited as a screening tool, the National Cancer Institute and the Prostate Cancer Foundation don't seem to have heard the news.

Not all doctors agree over how often to screen, and how much to depend on DRE versus other tests like PSA (although PSA is useless for detecting rectal cancer), but that's very different than what you said. My guess is that the reporter misunderstood something she read. There's no reason to reinforce the misunderstanding among your readers.

A good rule of thumb when reading any newspaper health article is, if you see something that sounds contrary to what you've always heard - well maybe it's true, but that's a good time to read the article carefully and see if you can figure out who's saying it, or how to check on it. In this case, you can't.

Posted by: Hob | Oct 16, 2007 2:38:13 PM

This cracks me up. The rightwingers have become so suspicious of the fact that things aren't going their way that they will assert, with absolute seriousness, that you won't lose weight if you eat less. Once you get on this train of thought, why get off? You can go on to "prove" that, because you don't lose weight by eating less, those really really thin people in Africa aren't actually starving.

And so we leave sweet Wiki Wiki, heading for the port of Insanity in LaLa Land.

Posted by: serial catowner | Oct 16, 2007 2:42:34 PM

Well, about 15 years ago I started telling the doctors that I didn't really see any point in a digital rectal exam. They always smile and say I'm probably right.

I think the real key finding is that if you have an ejaculation every day, it reduces the risk for prostrate cancer. The disturbing implications are left to the reader.

Posted by: serial catowner | Oct 16, 2007 2:46:56 PM

This comment disappeared, if it reappears I apologize for the double post.
If I had waited 5 years between exams, I would be dead or dying of cancer, no doubt about it. As it is, I was 6 months late for my yearly exam. If I had gone in on time, I probably could have avoided having such a big chunk of me cut out. However, I am now "cancer free" so that is better than dead and better than being deformed or disabled because of even more invasive treatments than I did have to get. Regardless of what the statistics say, if you are the one with the cancer, even a rare one, it doesn't matter that the odds were against it. You still have cancer. And I was, at the time of my diagnosis, a very healthy (by all your usual measures) adult. Except of course for the cancer.

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 21, 2007 11:34:48 PM

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