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Overdiagnosis and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6527 (Published 06 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6527

A recent conference on preventing overdiagnosis which was sponsored by The BMJ was an unqualified success. The final sessions were as packed as the first, and enthused delegates stayed on to swap emails and form active working groups. Most of the discussion was about older patients, but we need to look earlier, according to an article in Pediatrics (2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1778) called Overdiagnosis: How Our Compulsion for Diagnosis May Be Harming Children. From an American hospital perspective, top overdiagnoses include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, bacteraemia, food allergy, hyperbilirubinaemia, obstructive sleep apnoea, and urinary tract infection. British readers may wish to regurgitate their own favourites.

Transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) are becoming less common, and the risk of having a stroke in the three months after one is declining, according to a population based cohort study from Australia (Stroke 2014, doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.006575). Over the past 10 years, the age-sex adjusted rate of stroke in the 90 days after TIA has fallen by about 3% a year and now …

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