Much Ado About Reflux
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported an interesting study this week: Researchers found that when a problem with a kid was labeled a “disease,” parents were more likely to want to medicate. More specifically, parents who were told that their baby’s spitting up was “gastroesophageal reflux disease” were more likely to ask for medication, even when the parents were told the meds would not work!
“There is a growing concern that GERD is overdiagnosed and overtreated in infants. This study suggests physicians can reduce interest in medications by not labeling the symptoms as GERD and by explaining to parents that acid reflux medications are not effective, study authors say.”
I talked to Michel about this study which I find fascinating for reasons to do with the phenomenon of over-diagnosis/over-medicating in general, and for the revelations about GERD in particular. He pointed me to something he wrote on this topic almost ten years ago:
“For the past few years, reflux has been a fashionable diagnosis for adults. Everybody seems to have it, and it gets blamed for virtually every upper-body symptom. Now, reflux hysteria has spilled over onto babies. Years ago a baby who cried was just your average baby. Nowadays, a crying baby is a baby with reflux.”