For every medical pamphlet we get at doctors' offices and throw straight into the recycling bin, it seems there are 10 others that clutter our cars and purses, unread. Certainly, as two new studies show, the leaflets fail in their primary purpose--to reduce unnecessary physician visits.
In one study of about 4,000 people in England, researchers sent out information leaflets, as well as booklets called "What Should I Do?" containing information on about 40 common health problems, such as headaches, sore throats and sleepless nights. After a year, they found no significant difference in the frequency with which the recipients visited their doctor, compared with a control group.