The debate -- and the buzz -- continues over the use of whole body MRIs performed on asymptomatic individuals, usually who have the means to pay the several thousand dollars of out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by payors. The hope for healthy individuals who undergo these studies is to detect abnormalities as early as possible, or to rule out potentially life-threatening conditions. As reported here earlier, there is widespread skepticism about the value of these studies.
In the past month, articles in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal recently documented the growing popularity of MRI whole body screening preventive testing. Now The New York Times has entered the mix with coverage from their reporters on this hot topic as well.
These screening studies have a growing list of celebrity proponents who stand across an opposite number of mainstream medical organizations that have stated reservations of MRI whole body screening, such as the written statement of the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Those promoting whole body MRI surely welcome the coverage, even when the press pair their reporting with criticism of these scans when performed on patients without any medical symptoms, such as the balanced coverage offered by the Times this week. After all, as P.T. Barnum once said, “There's no such thing as bad publicity.”