As Medical Advancements Grow, People Feel Less Healthy

Medical expansion has led people to believe they are less healthy. It seems counterintuitive, but there may be a certain burden of truth that comes with the price of medical advancements.

After 25 years of medical expansion, we've come a long way. Advancements through research have helped doctors put a stop to diseases and create devices to help aid in early detection. After all that you'd think people would have an optimistic outlook on health care, but it's not so.


Hui Zheng, an assistant professor of Sociology at Ohio State, examined several large, multinational datasets that asked people to rate their health between 1981 and 2007. Zheng then compared that data to the medical innovations that took place across 28 countries in that time. What he saw was the growth of medical technology and services, and the decline of people's confidence in health care.

Zheng explained the results in a press release:

"Access to more medicine and medical care doesn't really improve our subjective health. For example, in the United States, the percentage of Americans reporting very good health decreased from 39 percent to 28 percent from 1982 to 2006."

He admits the idea “seems counterintuitive, but that's what the evidence shows. More medicine doesn't lead to citizens feeling better about their health — it actually hurts.”

Even when taking education and socioeconomic status into account, Zheng reported that “the improvements we might expect to see in subjective health as economies grow and citizens become richer seem to be offset by medical expansion."

With better doctors and detection, people begin to feel that there are more “new” diseases cropping up when that just isn't the case. The science is better, giving people a name to what disease X or Y is now, and to the masses, this information may lead to a skewed perception — there's more to be afraid of. Perhaps there is a certain burden of truth that comes with these advancements, as well as the dawn of sites like WebMD — a place where every self-diagnosed ailment yields at least one result relating to cancer.

All the aggressive screenings and an over-diagnosis of patients, he says, only further contribute to this altered mentality of health. Zheng thinks that some people may be overly optimistic when it comes to expectations.

“Consumers begin demanding more medical treatment because of the declines in subjective health and the increasing expectations of good health, and medical expansion continues. It is a cycle.”

Read more at Science Daily.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

Videos
  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
Keep reading Show less