Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whither the stethoscope?

Due to the pervasive decline in the basic clinical skills of physicians and trainees the stethoscope has been relegated to the status of an instrument to facilitate CPT coding with the unintended consequence of spreading germs.

Well, after all, the thinking goes, why work to maintain auscultatory skills when you can just get an echo? As this article in CCJM points out, that's dangerous thinking. Echocardiography can mislead. If it doesn't correlate with basic clinical data something's wrong.

As the late J.Willis Hurst was fond of saying, master low technology (basic clinical skills) or you're bound to abuse high technology.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bad science is no respecter of politics

Is it fair to brand the right as anti-science and the left as pro-science? No.

Did you know, for example, that Barack Obama said, concerning vaccines and autism:

"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included..."

Well, so did John McCain.

There's much more in this web cast from C-SPAN Book TV including a general discussion of the hazards of opening scientific discussions to the arena of public debate. Discussions of science should inform policy. They should not be mixed with or driven by a policy agenda.

There's plenty of bad science on both sides of the aisle.