Using Pictures of Internal Damage Change Smokers' Habits Video

Would seeing your heart arteries pinched by plaque scare a person straight off fast food and TV marathons? Or maybe after seeing spots in his lungs would a man snuff out his last cigarette butt for real this time? Would an up close peek at skin ce...
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Using Pictures of Internal Damage Change Smokers' Habits Andrew Holtz: Is an image worth a thousand words of medical advice? With seeing your heart arteries pinched by a plaque scare is straight of fast food and TV marathons after seeing spots in your lungs, would you snuff out your last cigarette butt for real this time and what an up close peak at skin cells mutated by ultra violet rays put the off switch on that midwinter tanning booth bench, you know what you’re suppose to do but it is hard. Would actually seeing the toll on your body give you that kick you need to make changes? That’s the basic question asked by researchers who comb through to all the trials they could find that tested the premise that seeing really is believing when it comes to linking behavior and health. But they found only nine studies to plug into their systematic review of the evidence that they published in the Cochrane Library. And the image that emerged from their analysis is well, kind of blurry. Gareth Hollands: “It’s very hard to change behavior so even thought it seems like quite an appealing ideas as these things become cheaper and the technology is going to become better and images get sharper—it’s very early days, really.” Andrew Holtz: Lead Author Gareth Holland’s and his colleagues concluded that the sparse data and the fact that the trials they reviewed tested different kinds of images from MRIs to X-rays to ultra sound. I’ve everything from the consequences of tanning to diet to medication just means it’s too hard to draw any universal lessons about the motivation of value of medical images. When they look at attempts to discourage cancer causing tanning they found one clinical trial that produced positive results. People shown pictures of skin damage are almost five times more likely to do self examinations as were people who didn’t see the skin images but for other studies that used some more different methods produced mix results. Participants shown ultra violet photographs of their damage skin reduced their time in the sun or in tanning booths and two of the studies but not in the other two. Three trials included in the review used CT Scans of heart arteries that were taken to diagnose health problems in cigarette smokers. Showing smokers what their damage hearts look like almost tripled quick rates compared to smokers who didn’t see the images. The researchers speculated that the effectiveness they saw in trials looking at smokers might reflect the fact that smoking cessation has been studied more than almost any other kind of behavior change. Clinical psychologist Jennifer McClure says although smokers have heard about the health risk, the pictures make it real and personal. Jennifer McClure: “The test results provided some very tangible evidence about the harm that has been done that could be clearly linked to their smoking. So the feedback was not ambiguous at all. It was very clear cut and it reflected actual harm, not just the potential for harm. Andrew Holtz: Doctor McClure cautions that images don’t work for everyone and they’re not a substitute for counseling or other interventions to help people make changes and sustain a healthier lifestyle. Researchers in Switzerland are following up on their earlier trials. A randomized clinical trial is underway to find out if having smokers take a hard look at themselves can spur them to see the light or rather the reason not to light up.

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