Questioning Disease Definitions

A new study in early 2016, which interviewed British doctors, has some very interesting findings about their attitudes to the condition known as “Chronic Kidney Disease”.  The full text of the study, published in BMJ Open, is available here for free.

“CKD” was defined in 2002, and labels many people who will never experience any kidney disease. It is a good example of a controversial disease definition which is being questioned by doctors and others.

Extracts from the findings and discussion from the BMJ Open piece are here:

“The introduction of ‘CKD’ as a new disease construct conflicted with most GP professional values and personal understandings of general practice medicine.”

“I think when it first came in as an idea…we all rolled our eyes and went ‘Oh my God’, you know? They’re creating an illness that doesn’t exist.” (GPD)

“The inclusion of the words ‘chronic’ and ‘disease’ in the term CKD was also identified as a source of tension for clinicians.”

The 4th Preventing Overdiagnosis conference, which discusses studies like this one, is being held in Barcelona, September 20-22, 2016.


Recommended Reading – The Circle

You can read Ray’s latest BMJ column – inspired by Dave Egger’s classic novel “The Circle” here

The BMJ column explores the critically acclaimed novel’s take on the future of medicine – and our obsession with measuring everything.

From the February BMJ column: “Leaving aside concern about government or corporate misuse of data, our obsession with quantification—unmodified by uncertainty and by clear awareness of limitations—carries its own tyranny. Our faith in medical numbers, sometimes little more than fabricated fictions arbitrarily interpreted, demands a reality check.”

Preventing Overdiagnosis – September 15-17, 2014, Oxford University

Ray opening 2013 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference

Ray helping to open the 2013 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference

Following the success of the 2013 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference, held at Dartmouth College in the United States, the second Preventing Overdiagnosis conference will be held at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. You can read the 2013 conference statement, view videos of conference plenaries and see details of the 2014 conference, here