H. Gilbert Welch is one of my health policy gurus. I read his book Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health and highly recommend it. Welch has a column today in which he advocates more testing of standard medical practices. Too many plausible-sounding theories are accepted without being adequately tested — and then overturned a few years later. The testing that is done is often funded by companies that stand to profit from the drug or test. Welch mentions some of the practices that have been questioned recently. I would add to his list almost all the advice doctors give about weight loss and obesity.
More open-minded testing of accepted theories is needed, not just in medicine, but in other area such as economics. I’ve been amazed at how little agreement exists among top economists about the appropriate response to our financial crisis and recession. We seem to have learned embarrassingly little in the last seventy years.