Chart of the Day: Doctors Are Just Winging It

Austin Frakt highlights this chart from a 2013 special issue of the British Medical Journal:

OK fine, how about some examples?

There are countless other examples of common treatments and medical advice provided without good evidence: magnesium supplements for leg cramps; oxygen therapy for acute myocardial infarction; IV saline for certain kidney disease patients; the avoidance of peanuts to prevent allergies in children; many knee and spine operations; tight blood sugar control in critically ill patients; clear liquid diets before colonoscopies; bed rest to prevent preterm birth; the prescribing of unnecessary medications, to list just a few. In some of these cases, there is even evidence of harm.

Hmmm. My doctor told me to take magnesium supplements for leg cramps. Maybe I should save myself a few bucks and stop.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate