We can all relax about the ‘8 glasses of water a day’ myth – another example of ‘selling sickness’

The subheading for Margaret McCartney’s recent BMJ commentary reads ‘Medical marketing’. Should that be a topic in health professionals’ curriculum now? Anatomy, Physiology, Marketing, Biochemistry?

It would make sense to have a subject to balance Pharmacology. It could be called Unpharmacology. The former covers the legitimate benefits of appropriate prescription of effective medication for clinical indications. The latter (not an original neologism, see Scott Stratten and ‘Unmarketing’) teaches how Big Pharma tries to grow the market. Fits well with the teaching of evidence-based practice. Of course our good friends Roy Moynihan and Dee Mangin, among others, would be fantastic course leaders – in person or via the web. By the way, while looking for the Roy Moynihan link, I came across this recent interview with him by Australia’s ABC.

But that is a meandering start (a bad writing trait – graduate students – DO NOT MEANDER) to this Sunday’s short blog link to the BMJ cover story about Evian’s promotion of the ‘8 drinks a day’ myth. A nice piece by Margaret McCartney (Twitter @mgtmccartney) who has come to my attention for a couple of different interesting articles in the BMJ. I ‘Like’ in Facebook language. Another reason to try to visit Glasgow in addition to Des Spence.

BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee weighed in here (Free)

You can get the gist of Margert McCartney’s article free here

It inspired a vigorous debate on the web.

If you can access BMJ, the original article is here

Drink More Water? Just Say No, Doc Says

By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: July 12, 2011
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An excerpt from the article and its commentary on the web

The need to drink eight glasses of water a day may be as big a myth as the fountain of youth, according to one U.K. physician.

Several studies have found no evidence of benefit for recommending such levels of hydration, although bottled water companies would have consumers believe otherwise, argues Margaret McCartney, MD, of Glasgow, Scotland, in a commentary in BMJ.

“There are many organizations with vested interests who would like to tell doctors and patients what to do,” McCartney wrote. “We should just say no.”

And a link to the environmental issues as well! This blogger claims the cost of bottled water is 10,000 times that of tap water. Oops.

Enjoy what is left of your Sunday and remember that all BMJ Blogs are flagged on Twitter (@BJSM_BMJ). We try to promote other good stuff on Twitter to – so feel fre to add us to your Twitter community.

Ray Moynihan – if a Dean of Medicine doesn’t know of his work he or she should read ‘Selling Sickness’ before going to another meeting. And then ask – Is my medical faculty providing balanced education to future clinicians – or is our Faculty really a vehicle for Selling Sickness? Just a question.

Listen to Roy’s podcast

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