Ray wins prestigious fellowship

Dr Ray Moynihan has won a prestigious fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council to examine the increasingly recognized problem of overdiagnosis. The research fellowship will have a focus on how disease definitions are expanding and in some cases labeling many people unnecessarily. He is undertaking the fellowship with colleagues at Bond University’s Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, under the supervision of globally respected Professor Paul Glasziou.

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.”