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The problem with evidence-based medicine – with evidence-based anything – is that sometimes the evidence doesn’t point where you want it to.

Consider a study “to determine if exercise therapy is superior to arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for knee function in middle aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears” found that the quick and easy and technically cool surgery option worked no better than the long, annoying, uncool exercise option, and in fact “exercise therapy showed positive effects over surgery in improving thigh muscle strength, at least in the short term.” Here’s the study, which I found via the morning newsletter from Stat, the Boston Globe’s medical-focused specialty publication.

Those of us of a certain age who notice various joints more and more don’t want to hear this. When we have a problem we want something straightforward that will fix it – surgery or a shot or a short-term medicine regime. We don’t want to be told that it requires lots of work from us, repeated over and over, with  no guarantee of success.

I mean, come on – exercise? You might as well tell us to do yoga and meditation and to be kind to our fellow man! Wait … you do tell us that? Doggone it, I just want to be given a shot and then go back to work.

Darn that pesky evidence. No wonder so many people hate science.



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