Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Skepticism from a CDC doc

I spent the day at the Tuberculosis (TB) clinic with an infectious disease doctor. We chatted during the breaks between patients and my research project and interest in yoga came up. He had a little smirk on his face and I asked him about his skepticism.

He was quiet for a few moments, then said, "What would you say if I told you I was studying yoga in TB patients?" We both laughed and then ended up having a good talk... and he brought up some good points that I appreciated:
  • "[Studying something like yoga] has to be randomized... otherwise how will you know it's not all placebo effect? Anything that offers community, support, time for reflection, etc, will be show benefits."
  • "You know, yoga will never be reimbursed." (Then a few minutes later) "Well, if you can show that you can reduce long-term costs with these interventions, that would be a really beneficial study" (and maybe eventually would be reimbursed).
  • "Why breast cancer patients? We already have good treatments for that. But if you were to study yoga in blue-collar hypertension patients, now that would be an interesting study... Bringing a new cultural practice to that population." 
  • He eventually became more encouraging: "Breast cancer patients do suffer from pain, anxiety, depression for which he could see yoga being beneficial... And we do need to figure out how to help people exercise more." 
He then advised me to go into a procedure-oriented specialty so I can make more money... because that is what will be most important to me in 20 years!

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