Column: When tests do more harm than good

Ever more medical tests are becoming must-haves. Now the glomeruli, the hardworking but scarcely acknowledged filters of the kidney, are at last to have their 15 minutes of fame.

Taiwanese researchers, reporting recently in the Lancet, say we should all know how well ours are performing. However, the blood test to establish the “glomerular filtration rate” (GFR) is not as straightforward as we might like to think. By looking at glomerular filtration rates over 12 years, the researchers in Taiwan found a link between a low GFR and an increased mortality rate. Because of this, they suggested that the GFR test should be promoted to the public

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