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More thoughts from Dr. Gilbert Welch

Welch believes that expanding disease definitions have turned too many people into patients

When it comes to finding diseases early, "medicine has focused on the few whom we might help," says Dr. Gilbert Welch. "I think the time has come for us also to focus on the many who are dragged through the process unnecessarily and have experienced harms." For several years now, Welch has been writing and talking about the risks that come along with looking harder and harder for disease in seemingly well people. In his new book, Overdiagnosed, Welch and his coauthors, Drs. Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin, examine the social, medical, and economic ramifications of increasingly aggressive efforts to detect diseases early. All three authors are professors of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School; internists at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt.; researchers within the Center for Medicine and the Media at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; and frequent commentators in the national media.

Welch recently sat down with a member of the Dartmouth Medicine staff to talk about some of the concepts presented in his book. To listen, click on the link below.

To read an excerpt from Overdiagnosed that appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Dartmouth Medicine magazine, see "Changing the Rules." And to watch a recording of a "Grand Rounds" talk Welch gave about the problem of overdiagnosis in September 2010, click on the video link below.

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