Just as I was drifting to sleep, I thought of a good way to help non medical people understand how limited current imaging studies are in telling us what’s really going on inside the human body.
If the human body was the English language (keep going with me—it’s good :),
if the human body was the English language,
Then ***all*** the medical tests in the world are maybe 6 or 7 letters of our 26 letter alphabet.
So if a doctor is trying to figure out what’s going on — the doctor is trying to figure out how to read the sentence, so the speak —
A lot of how clearly and easily the doctor can read the sentence is based on where those 6 or 7 letters land in your sentence.
Maybe you got lucky, and got the first letter of every word, a vowel or two, and the doctor is able to read the sentence fairly easily.
But maybe your medical problem is missing all the letters entirely? Or maybe only shows one? Then what?
That’s why we all talk about doctors having ‘talent’. We feel it when we meet a doctor with ‘talent’, they see it in each other when they meet a colleague who has ‘talent’,
And that’s because consciously or not,
we know some doctors need fewer letters to be able to complete a sentence and thus get the meaning then other doctors.
If our medical tests were so great — and as good as companies and insurance companies want us to believe —
Then doctors wouldn’t even need talent, because the tests would all spell out the sentence directly for itself.
So what are these letters in my analogy? Biomarkers. Our current medical tests available to use don’t use enough biomarkers inside the body. In fact, there are hundreds (thousands?) of biomarkers we haven’t even discovered yet, let alone be able to add it into a medical test.
6 or 7 letters — that’s it. And some words form more easily with those letters, hence why these imaging studies are more accurate for certain things then others (like seeing a swallowed penny for example).
But asking our doctors — and insurance companies trying to push doctors in practice by this ‘evidence based medicine’ when the ‘evidence’ can only show us 6 or 7 letters of a 26 letter alphabet is ludicrous.
Doctors must continue to practice medicine the old fashioned way, then look to see if the 6 or 7 letters that pop up fit within the sentence they had already begun to form in their mind,
but basing or evaluating human healthcare on such limitations and calling it ‘the evidence’ causes more harm then good.
It doesn’t take someone with an impaired immune system to have a false negative MRI — it happens all the time. ‘Tumors get missed’ or ‘when the surgeon got in there it was much worse or much different than expected’.
Our current medical system sinks good healthcare by trying to wrap doctors minds around the million dollar ‘evidence’ machines,
when all they really should be doing is just listening to their patients —
There simply too many words that can’t even be formed by these tests, because the tests don’t have enough letters yet…