Research questions value of regular physical examon November 2, 2012 @ 11:32 am (Updated: 1:19 pm - 11/2/12 )
Researchers in Copenhagen, Denmark pooled data from 14 studies, some that date back to the 1960s and 70s.
Seattle internist, Dr. Anita Uppal, not part of the research, thinks the results might be flawed because of the old data. She says regular physical exams are more focused on preventive care today compared to back then. "Smoking cessation, we always mention and also we know more these days about exercise, we always address things like weight, body mass index and things like that," argued Uppal.
Researchers compared 180,000 people who got regular physical exams and those who saw a doctor only as needed. They concluded that systematic check-ups did not add a health benefit, that people who got regular check-ups don't live longer than people who see their doctor less often.
"If someone's coming for a specific problem, we might not touch on all the sort of general health maintenance issues and scheduling for a physical gives us a chance to review that in more detail," countered Uppal arguing in favor of regular physical exams.
Adding to the findings is Timothy Wilt, M.D., from the University of Minnesota's School of Medicine in Minneapolis. He just finished a review of data for the Department of Veterans Affairs and concluded that annual physicals don't provide much benefit for healthy adults.
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