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Over Treatment

Medical Mistakes Make It Dangerous To Go To A Hospital

Allen Frances | Posted 08.18.2016 | Healthy Living
Allen Frances

It seems like someone I know gets sick almost every week. At my age, this is expectable and acceptable. What is completely unexpected and unacceptable...

My Summary of a Great Conference: 'Preventing Overdiagnosis' 2015

Allen Frances | Posted 09.08.2016 | Science
Allen Frances

Medical marvels are oversold and overbought. Doctors need to be more humble and safety-conscious. We can't overstep our knowlege base without putting our patients at risk. Patients and doctors need to accept the uncertainty and limits of medicine. False certainty leads to terrible decisions.

Life Is Not a Premortality Condition, and Death Is Not Treatment Failure

Allen Frances | Posted 06.21.2015 | Science
Allen Frances

When you look hard and long enough for an abnormal lab test value, eventually you will find it -- too often a meaningless false-positive outlier that, left alone, would have no impact on your life. The unnecessary testing and treatments triggered by incidental findings carry substantial harms and risks. In your effort to achieve a perfectly healthy body, you wind up hurting your health.

No Child Left Undiagnosed

Allen Frances | Posted 06.12.2014 | Science
Allen Frances

Egged on by well meaning (and not so well meaning) experts and by greedy drug companies, we are fast approaching this dystopic wonderland of universal childhood mental illness.

When More Medicine Isn't Better

Leana Wen, M.D. | Posted 10.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Leana Wen, M.D.

Not surprisingly, doctors end up not tolerating uncertainty. In our high-tech era, this means more is done. A patient has seemingly vague symptoms, so the doctor orders some laboratory tests "just to get a baseline."

Back to Normal

Allen Frances | Posted 09.06.2013 | Science
Allen Frances

Spend at least as much effort ensuring you have the right diagnosis as you would in buying a house. Become a fully informed consumer, ask lots of questions, and expect clear and convincing answers from any clinician.

Psychiatric Mislabeling Is Bad for Your Mental Health

Allen Frances | Posted 10.31.2012 | Science
Allen Frances

Unfortunately, DSM 5 will make the current problems with mislabeling much worse. Its new proposals (with the possible exception of autism) all cast a wider diagnostic net that will lead to much looser and less accurate diagnosis.

Medical Specialists Will Try to Reduce Excessive Diagnostic Testing

Allen Frances | Posted 10.31.2012 | Healthy Living
Allen Frances

The new initiative by nine medical specialty groups to reduce unneeded diagnostic testing and treatment recognizes that many medical tests and procedures are not only wasteful, but also cause more harm than good.

Predicting Psychosis Risk Is Pretty Risky

Allen Frances | Posted 10.31.2012 | Science
Allen Frances

Originally called 'psychosis risk,' it is now repackaged more modestly as 'attenuated psychotic symptoms.' However named or renamed, this is a dangerous idea with little benefit and extremely risky, unintended consequences.

DSM 5 Freezes Out Its Stakeholders

Allen Frances | Posted 10.31.2012 | Science
Allen Frances

Scary news. The Chair of the DSM 5 Task Force, Dr. David Kupfer, has indicated that 90 percent of the decisions on DSM 5 have already been made. Why so scary? DSM 5 proposes a radical redefinition of the boundary between mental disorder and normality.