Thursday, January 3, 2013

The scant benefits of regular health checkups

A recent analysis from The Cochrane Collaboration, an international group that reviews scientific evidence, concluded that general health checkups for adults did not help patients live longer or healthier lives. ...

The study was a meta-analysis, in which the authors scoured the literature and came up with 16 randomized trials in which one group of patients had general checkups and the other group did not. Two-thirds of the trials, covering more than 150,000 patients, followed the patients long enough — nearly a decade — to track actual death rates.

Patients in the checkup group received many more new diagnoses; one trial found a 20 percent increase. But they did not live longer. They died from cancer and heart disease at the same rates as their peers who did not have checkups.
--Danielle Ofri, NYT, on yet another preventive health behavior that can be skipped