My parents believed so much in the healing powers of medicine that as a child I was subjected to annual physical examinations at the University of Michigan Medical School. For nearly half a day several highly trained professionals examined my body looking for the slightest indication that I might have the beginnings of a potentially fatal illness, such as cancer. An analysis of my body fluids and excrements provided the final proof that I was in excellent condition – likely to survive until next year.
You might think this exam to be prudent action by my parents, showing their love and concern; but these expensive intrusions did nothing to prevent me from suffering a debilitating stroke at the age of 18, having a cholesterol level of 335 mg/dl at 22, gaining 50 extra pounds of fat by the time I was 24, and undergoing major abdominal surgery when I was 25 years young. Nor is an annual physical examination likely to make a meaningful difference in your life – and that is why major health organizations worldwide recommend against this customary checkup.