Dr. Nortin Hadler, who is the head of rheumatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spoke about “Rethinking Aging” in the Lecture Hall recently. His topic was based on his book by the same name. He has written six books, the last four for lay audiences. The books include: “The Last Well Person”, “Worried Sick”, and “Rethinking Aging”. The books have been written from his perspective on aging, geriatrics being one of his specialties.
Hadler characterized evidence-based medicine as the greatest current advance in which patients can and should ask, “How certain are we physicians that what we offer works?” “Where are the data?” He believes, by way of example, that the use of statins to prevent or reduce heart disease does not have good supporting data.
He observed that our generation is the first to reach age 60 and then ask, “What do I want to do for the next 25 years?” He stated that the percentage of the population reaching 80 has risen but there has not been an increased percentage reaching 90.
He expressed his concern about the inefficiency of our health care system. He compared ours to that of Japan where he and his wife have lived. Japanese physicians see many more patients each day because of the reduction of forms or medical bureaucratic regulation.
In the question and answer period, he stated that “sham acupuncture” works better than placebos. The reason is not evident. He referred to the phrase “pain and suffering,” defining suffering as the patient’s mental and physical reaction as an anticipation of the pain, and not the pain itself.
Dr. Hadler, who has spoken at Carolina Meadows before, is an eloquent, interesting lecturer. It was clear he has a strong commitment to medical care. Many of the observations he made in his talk are in his well-written books.
By James Scatliff and Paul Hardin