The Nation's Health + [health]

Will you recognize the truth when you see it?

Do you ever wonder that, if the truth were given to you, that you'd recognize it as such? Or would you dismiss it as just another bunch of nonsense?

After all, you and I live in the Information Age. It means that we have access to mountains of information like never before in human history. But it also means that the truth is often drowned out by an avalanche of mis-truths, sales pitches and marketing, and just plain nonsense.

This struck me the other day when I was talking to a patient.

64 years old with a high heart scan score placing her at significant risk, she looked confused. I'd just described the multitude of causes of coronary plaque that we'd uncovered. The heart scan alone had been a shocker.

"I don't understand. My doctor told me that I had nothing to worry about. I've known him for years and he knows me really well. He did a stress test. That was fine. I don't get all this other stuff you're telling me--lipoprotein whatever..."

Despite my efforts to help her gain an understanding of our intensive approach, she just became increasingly more frustrated. "I just don't think I can do this."

That's the last I've heard from her. As far as I know, she's returned to the comfort of her family doctor who has reassured her over the years. And perhaps there's some good in that. But I do fear for the day when, unexpectedly, she suffers some catastrophe that we told her was coming sooner or later unless real preventive efforts were started.

You could say that she failed to recognize the truth when it was given to her-- boldly, unadorned, and with far greater scientific certainty than the casual reassurances she was accustomed to. But, unfortunately, that's all that some people want.