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Less Medicine, More Health from Dr. Gilbert Welch

By Helene Atwan

I take great pleasure in introducing this very surprising video, based on an equally surprising (and highly entertaining) new book, Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical Care  by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, who taught us all so much  in his last book, Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health

WelchphotoI first heard about the ideas in this book walking in the Boston Commons with Dr. Welch on a break from a medical conference he was addressing, and I knew then that we had to do a book. He said something which I couldn’t get out of my head:  good health is not well correlated with medical care. How could that possibly be?  Over the course of the next year, I spoke to Gil at every opportunity, and he told me more. He told me about the assumptions we make about our health that are not necessarily true; in fact, they are more often false than true. And yet they seem so completely intuitive: isn’t it always better to catch disease early? Surely the latest advances in medicine must be the best? Don’t tell me knowing more about my condition isn’t very much to my advantage! And, duh, why wouldn’t I want to get every screening available?! 

So just watch this video—you’ll learn a lot in very little time. You’ll probably want to know more, in which case of course I highly recommend the book. But even the 7 minutes you devote to watching this (pretty entertaining) video will teach you some provocative lessons that, who knows, might well save you a lot of pain, expense, worry…perhaps more.

About the Author

Helene Atwan has been director of Beacon Press since 1995. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia. She began her career in publishing at Random House in 1976, and has worked at Alfred A. Knopf; Viking Press; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and Simon and Schuster. She served for eight years on the board of PEN-New England and is the Administrator of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.