Eight Medical Assumptions Surprisingly Debunked by Research in 2018

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Fish Oil8. Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has no significant association with a reduction in heart disease or reduction in any major vascular events. (Aung, Halsey, Kromhout, et al, JAMA Cardiology, 2018)

7. A study by a group of economists has found that end of life healthcare spending is not the largest component of healthcare spending waste. End of life healthcare spending is unpredictable and inconsistent per patient, in conflict with previous research. Less than 5% of Medicare resources are committed to patients in their final year of life who have a 46% risk of mortality. (Einov, Finkelstein, et al, Science, 2018)

6. Type I diabetes was once thought to be a young person or child’s disease, but instead it can be diagnosed for the first time in patients up to age 60, and more than 40% of cases are diagnosed in patients age 30 and older. (Thomas, Jones, et al, Lancet, 2018)

aspirin5. Low dose aspirin is not protective for cardiovascular events for older adults who do not have a history of cardiovascular events (heart attack or stroke). In fact, it can produce higher rates of cancer and does not decrease the risk of first-time cardiovascular events. What does this mean? Only take that baby aspirin if you and your doctor have decided its use is necessary based on your particular medical history and cardiovascular risk. (McNeil, Nelson, et al, NEJM, 2018).

4. Diclofenac sodium (Voltaren), a seemingly innocent anti-inflammatory (NSAID) commonly prescribed for orthopedic injuries and arthritis flares, increases your risk of heart issues (arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death due to heart disease), by 1.5x or more, even with taking just one short term prescription. The rates for diclofenac are significantly greater than for acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Note that this research focused on the oral medication, not Voltaren gel. (Schmidt, Sorenson, Pedersen, BMJ, 2018)


3. Bring on the cheese! Wisconsin farmers already knew this, but now the medical community agrees. Consuming more dairy products (greater than 2 per day) are correlated with fewer, not more, cardiovascular events like heart attacks and stroke and deaths due to cardiovascular events! Intake of higher fat or whole fat milk and yogurt actually reduced the odds of sustaining these cardiovascular events compared to even the lower fat versions. (Dehghan, Mente, et al, Lancet, 2018)

2. We used to believe that taking probiotics with or after taking an antibiotic helps re-balance your gut flora. Research shows it actually markedly delays and may prevent your gut flora’s ability to fully reconstitute itself (heal) after taking a bout of antibiotics. (Suez, Zmora, et al, Cell, 2018)

1. Salt intake does not cause cardiovascular (heart) disease and stroke unless you consume amounts of 5 grams or more per day. While it can exacerbate water retention in patients with heart failure, salt itself does not increase cardiovascular risk. (Mente, O’Donnell, et al, Lancet, 2018)