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Periodic Health Exams in General Population Don't Reduce Mortality Risk
General wellness checks to identify disease risk factors and symptoms in healthy people appear to have no effect on mortality, according to a Cochrane meta-analysis in BMJ.
Researchers analyzed the results of 14 randomized trials comprising some 180,000 adults (geriatric trials were excluded). Patients were randomized either to health checks conducted in a primary care or community setting or to no health checks. The exams were not associated with a reduction in all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer-related mortality.
An editorialist concludes: "The history of health promotion through routine health checks has been one of glorious failure, but generations of well meaning clinicians and public health physicians struggle to allow themselves to believe it. We need to reinforce the message lest some enthusiast reinvent the health check in another guise."
BMJ article (Free)
BMJ editorial (Subscription required)
Published in Physician's First Watch November 21, 2012
- Preventive services
Kylie H Vannaman, 21 Nov 2012 12:59 PM EST
Specialty: Family Medicine
My question then is when do you discuss all the health maintenance screening options and recommendations? If this study says... [more]
- Hindsight is 20/20 of course
Ghaleb H. Daouk, M.D., Children's hospital Boston, 21 Nov 2012 12:59 PM EST
Specialty: Pediatric Nephrology
While the statistics may truly indicate a general lack of effectiveness in final disease outcome, there are no real controls... [more]
- Is it all about mortality?
Kelly Sparks, PA-C, 21 Nov 2012 12:59 PM EST
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
It may more difficult to quantify the benifits of regular health checks and developing a relationship with a health care... [more]
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