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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11156

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Mangin D, Sweeney K, Heath I.
Preventive health care in elderly people needs rethinking
BMJ 2007 Aug 11; 335:(7614):285
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7614/285


Abstract:

Dee Mangin, Kieran Sweeney, and Iona Heath argue that, rather than prolonging life, preventive treatments in elderly people simply change the cause of death-the manner of our dying

Summary points

- Single disease models should not be applied to preventive treatments in elderly people

- Preventive treatments in elderly people may select cause of death without the patient’s informed consent

- Preventive use of statins shows no overall benefit in elderly people as cardiovascular mortality and morbidity are replaced by cancer

- A more sophisticated model is needed to assess the benefits and harms of preventive treatment in elderly people

Preventive health care aims to delay the onset of illness and disease and to prevent untimely and premature deaths. But the theory and rhetoric of prevention do not deal with the problem of how such health care applies to people who have already exceeded an average lifespan. In recent years, concerns about equity of access to treatments have focused on ageism. As a result, preventive interventions are encouraged regardless of age, and this can be harmful to the patient and expensive for the health . . .

The epidemic of cardiovascular disease

Evidence for lipid lowering treatments in elderly people

Are we further blighting old age?


Notes:

Free full text

 

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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963