[SydPhil] Macquarie University Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series: Wendy Rogers

Rachael Brown rachael.brown at mq.edu.au
Mon Apr 27 10:42:52 AEST 2015

Please note the following upcoming event as part of the Macquarie
University Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series

Developing a typology of overdiagnosis

Wendy Rogers (Macquarie University)

Tuesday 28th April, 1-2pm
W3A Rm 501 (Blackshield Room)

Overdiagnosis refers to the phenomenon of diagnosing individuals with a
condition and that diagnosis does not produce a net benefit for that
person. Conditions that are known to be overdiagnosed include a number of
cancers, diseases such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease, symptom-based
conditions such as restless legs, and a range of mental disorders.
Overdiagnosis is a problem because it leads to harms to those individuals
who are overdiagnosed, and diverts healthcare resources away from people
with serious disease. A number of drivers of overdiagnosis have been
identified, such as increased frequency of screening, altered diagnostic
thresholds, highly sensitive tests, defensive medical practice, a belief
that more is better, physician incentives, and disease
mongering. Identifying these drivers helps to explain *how* overdiagnosis
occurs, in general and for specific conditions. However, identifying
drivers does not help to explain the underlying reasons *why* our current
systems for classifying and diagnosing disease are open to these problems.
In this paper, I offer two answers to this question. The first is because
we lack agreement about defining disease, both at a conceptual level and at
the level of individual disorders. This means that definitions of diseases
and their diagnostic criteria can be changed, leading to overdiagnosis. The
second is because diagnostic tests are not ideal and can go wrong in
various ways leading to false negatives, false positives and overdiagnosis.
These two reasons are then linked to two different types of overdiagnosis.
This two part typology is potentially useful for informing strategies to
address overdiagnosis.

Feel free to bring your lunch.

Contact: Rachael Brown (rachael.brown at mq.edu.au), Paul Formosa (
paul.formosa at mq.edu.au), Mike Olson (michael.olson at mq.edu.au)

A google calendar with details of other events in this series is available
for viewing and subscription by following this link:


Other upcoming talks in this series:
May 5th: Andrew Dunstall (Macquarie)
May 12th: Michael Olsen (Macquarie)
May 17th: Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie)
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