Chart of the Day: Doctors Are Just Winging It

Austin Frakt highlights this chart from a 2013 special issue of the British Medical Journal:

OK fine, how about some examples?

There are countless other examples of common treatments and medical advice provided without good evidence: magnesium supplements for leg cramps; oxygen therapy for acute myocardial infarction; IV saline for certain kidney disease patients; the avoidance of peanuts to prevent allergies in children; many knee and spine operations; tight blood sugar control in critically ill patients; clear liquid diets before colonoscopies; bed rest to prevent preterm birth; the prescribing of unnecessary medications, to list just a few. In some of these cases, there is even evidence of harm.

Hmmm. My doctor told me to take magnesium supplements for leg cramps. Maybe I should save myself a few bucks and stop.

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Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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