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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Science of Disease Prevention: New Report

A fascinating article today in the New England Journal of Medicine takes a close look at the benefits of disease prevention programs. Responding to presidential candidates plans that call for more spending on prevention programs, researchers studied the existing research into costs and benefits of various preventive programs.

The unsurprising conclusion: Some disease prevention programs are more beneficial than others.
  • The article finds, for instance, that a one-time screening colonoscopies for men 60-64 is cost-effective.
  • But screening all 65-year-olds for diabetes is far more costly than it is to screen just men 65-plus who have high blood pressure for diabetes.
The article doesn't explore cost effectiveness of wellness programs such as diet and exercise. But it's useful information for those who are working with insurers and other stakeholders to determine an effective screening schedule, for example.

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