I’m skeptical about … annual checkups.

The concept of the annual checkup, now referred to as a “periodic health assessment,” dates back to 1861. Although the tools, tests, and screenings available today are far more sophisticated than those available to the antebellum physician, the purpose of the assessment has changed little—to provide an overview of health and the opportunity to screen for acute and chronic disease. Continue reading

I’m skeptical about … vitamin D and calcium supplements.

Here’s what Dr. Joseph Mercola had to say about vitamin D (right beside his ad hawking a month’s supply of the stuff for $29.97): “There’s very few supplements I recommend for almost everyone but vitamin D is one of them.” And this from Life Extension Magazine: “Why isn’t everyone supplementing with Vitamin D?” Finally, from Dr. Mehmet Oz: “If I could think of one vitamin to push to everybody to get into their lives, it’s vitamin D.” Continue reading

Update on Statins

In July of 2015, I wrote a post questioning the recommendations of the American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) to expand statin use in asymptomatic individuals. The reason this topic is so important is that it affects literally millions of people at a cost of multiple billions of dollars. Continue reading

Update on low back pain.

In April, I posted 2 essays on low back pain (“I’m skeptical about … low back pain,” parts 1 and 2). In them, I explained why the American way of treating this ubiquitous disorder is so expensive, wasteful, and ineffective. It relies largely on pharmaceuticals to mask pain, and technologies to image the spine that rarely affect patient outcomes. Continue reading