Echocardiograms for healthy people? Fuhgaddeboutit

Thinking of having an echocardiogram to ferret out those chest pains?  Or an annual pap smear, if you're a 30-to-65-year-old woman?  Or a CT scan of your son's head after he falls off his bike?

Fuhgaddeaboutit.  A new study has found that doctors are saying that everything from using feeding tubes in people with advanced dementia to CT scans for minor head injuries is not necessary and should not be done, according to a story by Bruce Japsen at

He writes that doctors themselves recognize the lack of necessity for many tests that have been routinely done for decades.  In fact, Japsen writes, they've come up with 90 tests that we're all better off not having.

On the same topic, flu shots arenot working in patients over 65, the most vulnerable age group.  Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports that, "the vaccine is proving only 9 percent effective in those 65 and older against the harsh strain of the flu that is predominant this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

Stobbe noted that, for those 65 and older, "the vaccine was only 27 percent effective against the three strains it is designed to protect against, the worst level in about a decade." It did a particularly poor job against the stubborn strain that is causing more than three-quarters of the illnesses this year.

Doctors still say a flu shot is your best protection against the flu, but since the season is winding down, if you didn't get one, hold your breath.


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