Colonoscopies and Seniors: What to Do?

Following up my last post – Learning to Say No to Doctors – I was interested to read results of a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported up to 38 percent of colonoscopies performed on those between 76 to 85 years old (and almost 25 percent of those over 86) were potentially inappropriate under existing guidelines. I take a personal interest in this procedure because colon cancer played a significant role in my …

Can A ‘Death Test’ Predict When You’ll Die?

It’s not exactly a crystal ball, but researchers have developed a simple “mortality index” – you might call it a death test – to figure out an older person’s risk of dying in the next 10 years. The 12-question test was developed for doctors to use on their patients age 50 and older. Some of the questions might strike you as the “well, duh” variety – do you have a malignant tumor? chronic lung disease? congestive heart failure? – while …

Alzheimer’s Risk: Would You Want To Know?

If you were likely to get Alzheimer’s disease in the future, would you want to know? The question is largely hypothetical at the moment, but might not be for much longer.

Should Doctors Be ‘Parsimonious’ With Your Health Care?

Endless experts have told us that health care costs keep increasing and that the country needs to do something to hold them in check, but is being “parsimonious” with health care decisions really the best, ethical solution? A major medical group thinks so. The new ethics manual for the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that doctors practice “parsimonious care” — in other words,  they should consider both cost and medical benefit when deciding how to treat their patients. The ACP, …

Want Your Test Results? Don’t Wait. Nag Your Doctor

Patients who passively wait for their doctor to call them with medical test results need to wake up  – and start dialing. As one doctor put it, “No news is not good news. If a patient gets a test done and doesn’t get a result, he should follow up.” Failure to pass along test results promptly — or even at all — is a growing problem and partly to blame for the big spike in medical malpractice payouts, according to …