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Doctors overestimate their omnipotence

Now a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine authored by two Australians points out that when it comes to unsound medicine, there is another element at play. It turns out that when prescribing a drug or ordering a procedure doctors are actually quite bad at estimating the benefit and harm associated with it. In a systematic review of 48 studies performed in 17 countries and involving more than 13,000 clinicians, they found that doctors rarely had accurate expectations of benefits or harms. The inaccuracies were in both directions but more often, harm was underestimated and benefit overestimated. Advertisement Paid for by omglane com Final Photo: What Happens Next Is Tragic And Heartbreaking People typically forget how lucky they are to be alive after viewing these 26 images See More No group of doctors fared well. As a result, children with acute ear infections may be overprescribed antibiotics and women with troublesome postmenopausal symptoms may be deprived of hormone replacement therapy. Obstetricians and neurologists underestimated the risk of birth defects from antiepileptic drugs and GPs overestimated the benefit of prostate cancer screening and underestimated the benefit of warfarin for atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition. Transplant surgeons were biased towards an inaccurately low estimate of graft failure and all types of doctors were unaware of the risk of radiation exposure from imaging.

Fractal edges shown to be key to imagery seen in Rorschach inkblots -- ScienceDaily

"These optical illusions seen in inkblots and sometimes in art are important for understanding the human visual system," said Taylor, who is director of the UO Materials Science Institute. "You learn important things from when our eyes get fooled. Fractal patterns in the inkblots are confusing the visual system. Why do you detect a bat or a butterfly when they were never there?"

A Test That Finds the Perfect Drug? - The Atlantic

“Psychiatry remains the only discipline of medicine that has no test to predict treatment response,” said Evian Gordon, the founder of one such company, Brain Resource. “This is providing, for the first time, an objective step as to which drug might be responsive.”

To Treat Depression, Drugs or Therapy? - The New York Times

Over all, about 40 percent of the depressed subjects responded to either treatment. But Dr. Mayberg found striking brain differences between patients who did well with Lexapro compared with cognitive behavior therapy, and vice versa. Patients who had low activity in a brain region called the anterior insula measured before treatment responded quite well to C.B.T. but poorly to Lexapro; conversely, those with high activity in this region had an excellent response to Lexapro, but did poorly with C.B.T. What might explain these different responses? We know that the insula is centrally involved in the capacity for emotional self-awareness, cognitive control and decision making, all of which are impaired by depression. Perhaps cognitive behavior therapy has a more powerful effect than an antidepressant in patients with an underactive insula because it teaches patients to control their emotionally disturbing thoughts in a way that an antidepressant cannot

For Depression, Prescribing Exercise Before Medication

But this powerful, non-drug treatment hasn’t yet become a mainstream remedy. In a 2009 study, only 40 percent of patients reported being counseled to try exercise at their last physician visit.

The Serotonin Surprise |

Glenmullen has long suspected that drugs that alter serotonin metabolism cause profound changes in the brain. He bases his suspicion on a body of research during the last 20 years by scientists investigating another class of drugs that includes MDMA (Ecstasy) as well as fenfluramine, the diet drug recently removed from the market because of its association with heart valve problems. These drugs do more than just block serotonin reuptake; they primarily stimulate the release of large quantities of serotonin from nerve endings into the brain. The resulting flood is thought to cause the mind-altering effects of MDMA. And that flood, some scientists argue, leaves brain damage in its wake. When monkeys and rats are given high doses of serotonin releasers--up to 40 times the dose that people generally take--the microscopic architecture of their brains looks different from normal brains. The nerve fibers (axons) that carry serotonin to the target cells seem to change their shape and diminish in number--effects some scientists claim are properly understood as brain damage.