Do people need their heads examined regarding brain scans?

See Paul Goldberg's piece in The Cancer Letter, "Van Brings Free Brain MRIs To Capitol Hill; Experts See Enormous Potential for Harm" (subscription or day pass required). Excerpts:

"Over the past several months, over 1,000 New Yorkers have inserted their heads in an MRI unit mounted inside a truck operated by The Brain Tumor Foundation, a nonprofit started by a prominent neurosurgeon at New York University. Earlier this week, the truck was parked at the base of Capitol Hill, and about 60 people—among them six legislators—stepped in to receive free scans.

Skeptics say these folks should have their heads examined. “This is crazy,” said Steven Woloshin, senior research associate in the Veterans Affairs Outcomes Group of White River Junction, Vt., and
associate professor of medicine and of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. “No
professional organization recommends this, and there is no credible evidence that this does more than good than harm, and there are lots of reasons to worry about harm. False alarms in the brain leading to biopsies can’t be good for you.” ...

Critics say that Kelly’s campaign is another manifestation of the American belief in screening and insistence on the worst possible care at the highest possible price. “At a time when we are worried about
healthcare costs, one must be responsible in screening and treatment recommendations,” said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society."

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on May 12, 2009 10:00 AM.

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