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Monday, May 30, 2011

Expert skepticism

Dr. Rich is at it again with a post looking at use of statins.

Q: What’s the difference between a public health expert and an ax murderer?
A: Actually, there are two differences. The public health expert usually means well. And the public health expert has only metaphorical blood on his hands.

This blog piece reminds me of an Atlantic Monthly article entitled "The Cholesterol Myth" written in 1989 by Thomas J. Moore. In this piece Mr. Moore dissected the data supporting dietary interventions for the prevention of death from atherosclerotic heart disease. This article was one of my earliest introductions to a contrarian view of medicine.  I was an avid reader of the Atlantic for more than twenty years, attracted by articles which questioned the common wisdom. We need to be skeptical when it comes to recommending interventions for healthy people.

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