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Overdiagnosed, Making People Sick in Pursuit of Health

University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Online; Online Video; Video
Filmed Lectures
Growing enthusiasm in medicine and in the population at large for early diagnosis has engaged many doctors in a systematic search for abnormalitites in persons who are well. While physicians, patients, and the press tend to focus on the potential benefits, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch in his work has exposed the often-ignored harm associated with this practice: overdiagnosis. Diagnoses of a great many conditions, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes (and prediabetes), and even cancer, have skyrocketed in recent years, yet many individuals so labeled are destined never to develop symptoms, much less die, from their conditions. They are overdiagnosed. And overdiagnosed patients as Dr. Welch points out in the Medical Center Hour, cannot benefit from treatment since there is nothing to fix. But they can be harmed. Understanding the trade-offs involved is critical, Dr. Welch argues, so that health care systems don't further narrow the definition of "normal" and, ironically, turn more and more well persons into patients. Co-presented with the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine; the Sadie Lewis Webb Program in Health Law, School of Law; and the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, UVA
University of Virginia. School of Medicine
Childress, Marcia Day
Welch, H. Gilbert
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Medical Center Hour
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The speakers in this presentation have given the University of Virginia permission to make it freely accessible online for all audiences to view. To request permission to reproduce, republish, and/or repost this presentation please contact the Historical Collections and Services Department of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia.
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