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PALM LATITUDES

Verbatim

July 14, 1991|Steve Salerno | Edited By Mary McNamara

"You can do more for your health than your doctor can." So say the physician authors of "Take Care of Yourself: Your Personal Guide to Self-Care and Preventing Illness." The 536-page tome is distributed free to new members of Travelers Managed Care System, among the nation's largest customized pre-paid health-care programs.

The book features a section titled "The Myth of the Annual Checkup," and the authors make no bones about promoting what amounts to an emergency-only approach to formal medical care. Consider this: "If you go to the doctor when you don't need to, you waste time, often lose money and may lose dignity. . . . Your confidence in your own ability and in the healing power of your body begins to erode. You can even suffer if you receive a drug that you don't need or a test that you don't require."

This last aspect especially troubles the authors, who are scornful of medical testing in general and claim to have statistics on their side. They assert that EKGs produce "80% 'false-positive' results" and do not favor mammograms for women younger than 50, except for those genetically predisposed toward cancer. However, the authors generously condone a yearly medical evaluation for "women who have already had a breast tumor."

"Take Care" urges subscribers to have their blood pressures taken annually--but cautions against undergoing one of those silly physicals.

After all, you don't want to erode your confidence in your body's own healing power, do you?

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