With years of experience, doctors know better than anyone which treatments and tests are worth having - and which are better avoided.
Sometimes, it is best asked -- 'What would you do Doc?'
So here, leading doctors and researchers reveal what they would personally avoid, many of which go against the established view
From the psychiatrist who'd never take anti-depressants, to the heart doctor who steers clear
of statins, medical treatments the experts refuse to have themselves
Psychiatrist who'd never take anti-depressants
Dr Joanna Moncrieff, senior lecturer in psychiatry at University College London and author of The Myth Of The Chemical Cure
Weight-loss GP who wouldn't go on a diet
I've been practising psychiatry for 20 years, and in my experience antidepressants don't do any good at all. I wouldn't take them under any
circumstances - not even if I were suicidal.
All the research shows is that, at best, antidepressants make people feel a tiny bit better than a placebo. But this doesn't mean they actually treat
Dr Ian Campbell, GP and founder of Bodylibrium, a weight-loss programme
Heart doctor who refuses to have statins
All the evidence is that diets rarely work long term.
I've been working with people to help them lose weight for decades and my experience has shown me that the only way to achieve long-term success is
through asking: 'Why?' - why do we comfort eat, why do we prefer fatty foods, why do we drink too much alcohol and why do we find physical activity
Techniques based on changing behaviour (similar to cognitive behavioural therapy), combined with strategies such as keeping a food diary and setting
realistic goals, are what really help people lose weight effectively.
Professor Kevin Channer, consultant cardiologist at Claremont Hospital, Sheffield
Prostate expert who won't have PSA test
Statins have had a huge effect in reducing the number of strokes and heart attacks and there's now a movement to give these
cholesterol-lowering tablets to everyone.
But I wouldn't take one unless I had proof I was at significant risk.
Whenever you're taking a drug, you've got to think about the risks and the benefits. Statins reduce your chance of heart attack or stroke by about 30
per cent, so, yes, there's a benefit. But in real terms it's very small.
Richard Ablin, professor of pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine
Orthopaedic surgeon who'd avoid X-rays
When I discovered the prostate specific antigen (PSA) in 1970, we soon realised it could be hugely helpful to prostate cancer patients.
The protein is specific to the prostate gland - it's not found in any significant amount in any other organ. So if a man with prostate cancer had his
prostate removed, our discovery meant we could measure his PSA afterwards to see if there was cancer remaining which hadn't been detected. However,
the PSA test began to be used to diagnose prostate cancer. This was a huge mistake.
The PSA is not cancer-specific - it's simply a protein produced by the prostate, so a high level can just mean a man has prostatitis (an infection) or
an enlarged prostate - sometimes troublesome but benign.
Chris Walker, orthopaedic surgeon at Liverpool Bone and Joint Centre
Dietitian who won't eat reduced-fat food
Too often, patients see their doctor about stiffness, aches and pains, wanting something to be done. The doctor sends them for an X-ray, which
may or may not show a bit of wear and tear, and tells them they have arthritis. As soon as they get that diagnosis, people tend to lose control and
They take anti-inflammatories (which can have gastrointestinal side-effects), feel frightened to exercise and generally become miserable.
That's why, as long as I didn't have red-flag symptoms of severe arthritis - such as constant pain, or pain that comes on at night - I would avoid an
Most of us will have a little wear and tear on the joints as we age, and actually the best thing to do is get out and about and keep moving.
Helen Bond, dietitian
Sport scientist who thinks long workouts are pointless
I steer clear of foods labelled 'reduced fat' and wouldn't give them to my children either.
The label can be really misleading.
A reduced-fat mayonnaise or cheddar, for example, is still going to be pretty high in fat, it's just lower in fat that its previous incarnation. A
'light' McVitie's chocolate digestive has 78 calories, compared with 86 in the standard version - a difference of only eight calories.
Stuart Phillips, professor of sport and exercise at Loughborough University.
Sleep specialist who won't take sleeping pills
As A young man I played rugby and ice-hockey and went running regularly.
I used to be a bit sanctimonious and say that a workout was only worth doing if it was at least an hour long and you were drenched in sweat at the
Now if I spend longer than an hour exercising I think it's a waste of time - the data shows that shorter bouts of activity, such as ten minutes of
intense exercise, are just as beneficial.
I study both the psychological and physical benefits of exercise and the incremental benefit you gain from going longer than an hour is pretty
Dr Guy Meadows, sleep specialist and founder of The Sleep School
Sleeping pills weaken your trust in your own natural ability to drop off, and can end up causing physical and psychological dependency.
You start to think 'I won't be able to sleep unless I take a pill.' The body then starts to expect the sedative to be in the system. In turn, you
run the risk of having rebound insomnia when you're coming off them, which explains why so many people struggle to ditch sleeping pills.
Side-effects can include dizziness, headaches, memory loss and feeling groggy. Recent research has also shown that sleeping medication is associated
with more than a fourfold risk of death. For me, these greatly outweigh the benefits. Research suggests that sleeping tablets provide as little as 20
or 30 minutes' extra sleep.
Of course, it varies from doctor to doctor, and hopefully not getting one that is a pill doctor or one that is milking the insurance
My husband has been on meds for several years now, for heart, blood pressure and sugar, all of which are under control
And now, thankfully, since his old doctor retired -- a pill pusher I might say-- his new doctor has since weened off off some of the unnecessary meds
and change others so now many of his 'side effects' have since disappeared and his mood swings are less often & not as moody
So yes, one does need to weigh the pros and cons of taking medicines or other options of treatment
edit on 6-5-2014 by snarky412 because: wording....reached my maximum length ...oops