Patients choose alternative therapies when granted more personal responsibility by doctors

Thursday, December 10, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of (See all articles...)
Tags: alternative medicine, patients, health news

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(NaturalNews) The December issue of Arthritis Care & Research contains a study showing that, when given the option to choose an alternate treatment, patients are more likely to refuse high-risk treatments recommended to them and pursue something else. Patients are more willing to take personal responsibility in making important medical decisions when their doctors give them the opportunity to consider other options.

Shared decision making (SDM) is a term used to describe the doctor-patient interaction in which both parties exchange information and decide jointly which course of treatment to take. A relatively recent concept, SDM has been shown in prior studies to help lower the number of high-risk treatments given to patients.

In this study, Liana Fraenkel, M.D., M.P.H., from the Yale University School of Medicine, and Ellen Peters, Ph.D., from Decision Research, conducted a focus group of 216 people that evaluated how patients arrive at medical decisions. What researchers found was that, when given choices, participants tended to be more wary of the negative side effects associated with a proposed risky treatment. Participants' willingness to accept treatment was greatly reduced when given the opportunity to be included in making the decision.

Researchers who conducted the study had the goal in mind to highlight the importance of patient involvement in the decision-making process. Rather than doctors simply prescribing a potentially dangerous therapy with no questions asked, patients should be encouraged to participate in making these important medical decisions. Dr. Frankael believes that in doing so, the number of risky procedures undertaken will be greatly reduced.

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

The really interesting part about this study is that it shows patients refusing more interventionist medical treatments (the more expensive treatments) when doctors include them in the decision process. This is perhaps why doctors tend to dominate the decision-making process and simply order patients what to do: Giving patients options results in lost business!

Most patients are remarkably gullible when it comes to making crucial decisions about medical procedures. By default, most people simply give in to whatever their doctor recommends, even if such a course of action may be more aligned with the financial interests of the doctor than the long-term health interests of the patient. While this study shows that patients tend to shun risky medical procedures when given the option, most patients are never given that option! They're usually subjected to scare tactics, such as when a cancer doctor says, "If you don't get chemotherapy starting right now, you'll be dead in six months."

This is a very unhealthy approach to doctor-patient communication, yet it's the status quo in the cancer industry today. Giving patients options causes a loss of business for doctors promoting expensive, complex procedures such as surgeries or chemotherapy, so it's not in the financial interests of those doctors to ask patients for their opinions in the first place.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at

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