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Physician to present at Nov. 23 'Ask a Scientist'

RELEASED: Nov. 12, 2010

Dr. Steven Weiss
Dr. Steve Weiss

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Steve Weiss, an internal medicine physician at Luther Midelfort in Eau Claire, will present "Power Issues in the Doctor-Patient Relationship" Nov. 23 as part of the "Ask a Scientist" series. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire.

Weiss will discuss the complexity of the doctor-patient relationship as well as the fact that some political philosophers have been critical of medicine in general and doctors in particular.

"The medical culture gives considerable power to doctors, and I will look at the ramifications of that," Weiss said.

"People look to doctors for health instead of looking to themselves," Weiss said. "There are a lot of problems that are self-imposed, such as the health risks from obesity and smoking. Part of the culture is to look to doctors to stay healthy."

Weiss' presentation will also focus on medicalization. There are several examples of the term, Weiss said. Giving birth, growing old and dying all have been medicalized. Acceptable blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels, on the other hand, are much lower than in previous decades. The semantics of defining medical terms has changed as well.

In addition, screening tests for both prostate and breast cancer are not as effective as the public may think. On average, screening 2,500 50-year-old women for a decade will prevent one death, but at the cost of up to 1,000 false positive exams over that period of time, Weiss said.

No "Ask a Scientist" presentations are scheduled for December. The series will resume in January 2011.

For more information, contact Dr. Paul Thomas, professor of physics and astronomy, at 715-836-3615 or thomaspj@uwec.edu.

-30-

LA/RD/DW

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