Medical care makes you healthier…right?

Do you regularly see your doctor for annual checkups, scans, blood tests, and procedures? While most of us see this as a daily part of a healthy lifestyle, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch would suggest otherwise – in fact, he seems to suggest seeing the doctor more frequently can be harmful to your health. In his book,  OverdiagnosedMaking People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, he argues over the supposed benefits of today’s commonly accepted medical thoughts: early diagnosis is always better and treatment is always better.

What is overdiagnosis? It’s when you are diagnosed by your doctor with a disease and undergo treatment when you either do not show any symptoms or when treatment might actually be harmful. Can this be you? To be sure, Dr. Welch specifies that he is not against doctors or treatment (he is a doctor, after all), but he is against diagnosing diseases when the patient has yet to show signs of disease. He distinguishes that people who have diseases should be treated, but overdiagnosis is when you are not sure the disease will ever exhibit any symptoms (yes, even some cancers will never affect you) and will never cause any trouble. In such cases, treatment is extremely harmful the patient. Continue reading

Widener by Alice

“Harvard Can Do Better”

Yesterday, an anonymous Crimson op-ed  written by a current undergrad went viral. (I really recommend you read it.) The noteworthy piece recounts the struggles of having schizophrenia at Harvard. Most likely your first reaction will be something akin to “That’s crazy” – not at all because of the student’s mental disease, but at the horrendously poor mental health service this student has received from the college. This poor student not only cannot afford treatment, s/he must deal with classes, papers, and finals on top of hearing voices? One of the most noteworthy quotes that stuck out to me was: “I can apply for $5,000 to study bat droppings over the summer, but there is no application to pay for the treatment that enables me to function.” Continue reading