Monday, November 30, 2015

Could Specialists Act As Primary Care Doctors?

 My opinion:  I've frequently thought about this issue myself, but I wasn't sure if this were even possible.  Specialists, like cardiologists and gastroenterologists, went through an internal medicine residency (which is primary care) before they did fellowships in their desired subspecialties.  The article discusses a new program where retired specialists could be re-trained to perform primary care.  I think this is a great idea, especially since many of these doctors could use a refresher on how primary care is practiced today.  I don't know if many retired doctors would be willing to do this, however, but it does appear that they often retire late, or continue to work part-time well into their 70s or later.  Another problem is licensing these physicians, as many of them may not want to take long board exams.  Perhaps boards could become more lenient for primary care physicians, since they do not need as much expertise in specialty disciplines.  This could also encourage more people to pursue primary care in general.  s this idea as realistic as it sounds?  Feel free to comment.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Anti-Vaccine Sites Rely on False Information, According to Study

The article remarks that 65.6% of the anti-vaccine websites studied say vaccines are dangerous, 62.2% say that they cause autism and 41.1% say they cause brain damage.  64.7% used scientific evidence and 30% used anecdotes to support the statistics.  Also, some of the websites seemed to promote alternative medicine.  Ultimately, the authors believe that officials should communicate with the anti-vaccine movement differently, possibly by involving health discussions that both sides agree upon, in order to address their concerns. 

In my opinion, while anti-vaccine sites may not use as much evidence based reasoning, I think there might be a point to the anecdotes.  Though they might represent a very small proportion of the population, some people might not react well to vaccines, especially if they have weak immune systems.  I think, if possible, it might be best to check a patient's immune history before prescribing a vaccine.  With children, perhaps it would be better to start with safer, more accepted vaccines first to see if they have any adverse reactions.  I do think, as the article mentioned, that many diseases have been eradicated due to the usage of vaccines.  In 2014, the highest number of measles cases occurred since 2000, and these were mostly in people who did not get vaccinated.  Furthermore, in regards to the authors' conclusions, I'm uncertain that promoting unrelated healthy behaviors will convince the anti-vaccine movement that vaccines are safe.  Rather, the picture should focus mostly on vaccine data that has already been generated.  Is lax regulation of the production of vaccines part of the problem?  And is there some vaccine research that has yet to be done?  Feel free to comment.