Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Medicine for People or for Profit?

If you were one of the 800,000 people each year who suffer a stroke and one of the 2/3 who have trouble walking ... which would you rather do: Have someone come to your home and work with you to improve your walking or go to a physical therapy facility and work with a state-of-the-art treadmill or other bit of technology? Turns out working with someone at home is just as effective.

The largest study ever on stroke rehabilitation was led by Duke University researchers. Their findings were presented recently at a recent American Stroke Association conference.

While high-tech equipment is popular with hospitals, and very expensive, it doesn't necessarily provide any better results. More important, fewer patients dropped out of the home therapy, just 3% vs. 13% for equipment programs. Fancy equipment usually takes 2 or 3 therapists to work with a patient while the at-home therapy requires just 1.

Just one more example showing us that medicine has become big business (nearly 17% of America's GDP) instead of focusing on what's good for patients.

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