Squidgy Guidelines Don’t Serve Patients:  

Join our Movement to #ShowMoreSpine against the Widening of Disease Definitions.


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Show More Spine

We had a soft launch of our campaign at Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference in September 2016. Thank you to all those who've provided feedback on our website and campaign. We have listened and are updating our site and hoping to launch ShowMoreSpine 2.0 by February - stay tuned!


Vertebral Fractures – A Prime Example of Disease Mongering

We’re kicking off our #ShowMoreSpine campaign with Vertebral Fractures which we think is a perfectly “mongered” disease definition threatening tens of thousands of women with a label that will leave them more medicalized and medicated but not any healthier. Like other conditions considered “Pre-diseases” such as pre-diabetes or pre-hypertension, vertebral fractures has the unfortunate side effect of labelling many perfectly healthy people as being sick.

You would think that a fracture is a fracture, right?

 But no, vertebral fracture is a different animal in the fracture literature.

Current definitions of vertebral fracture are so vague that depending on the criteria used, either 3% or 90% of the same group of people get the disease label.

A disease label would obviously be justified and helpful if we had an effective treatment for the disease. However, the proof that drugs prevent fractures is weak, at best. Nevertheless, our experts and their guidelines emphasize vague x-rays changes, and thus justify putting patients on a new drug.


Why #ShowMoreSpine?

 On a wider scale, the #ShowMoreSpine campaign aims to bring people together to stand up to the excesses of medicine, the selling of sickness and the overdiagnosis that comes from ever-widening disease definitions, threatening to turn more and more of us into patients.

Is it not outrageous that experts in the fields of cardiovascular medicine, diabetes and osteoporosis have come up with disease definitions that label at least 75% of our fellow citizens “sick” and in need of preventive medication? Clearly this is a problem affecting all of us at some point in our lives.


Sign the #ShowMoreSpine Manifesto if ... :

  • … you share our concerns that the definition of vertebral fractures is vague, causing potentially more harm than good, and should thus be re-evaluated/put under proper scientific scrutiny.
  • … you agree that we need to show more spine in resisting the unfounded widening of disease definitions and that we can all work together to protect our fellow citizens from being falsely labeled sick and unnecessarily infected with health anxiety.

We feel that:

  • Patients should be at the heart of medical decisions, especially those imposed on otherwise healthy people. 
  •  Patients can only make wise health decisions if they know the full picture of what is being offered to them, the nature of their disease, the likelihood that they would benefit from a diagnosis and a label, and the likelihood that long-term medications will help them and not harm them.

Some may feel this campaign should be a petition, but we feel it should be something larger - that is why we’ve called it a manifesto. 😉


About the Team

Who’s behind the #ShowMoreSpine movement? What do we love, believe and are committed to?

We love a stiff backbone, those who are not afraid to stand tall against excessive and unnecessary medical interventions imposed on healthy people. We love to see action and debate and we want to see these controversies discussed openly and fully with all concerned.

We believe that everyone needs to #ShowMoreSpine -- and be empowered to call out situations whenever excessive medicine is working to capture more people in its web. We believe that squidgy guidelines don’t have the patient’ best interests at heart, and overly wide disease definitions need to be challenged, confronted, debated and changed.

We are committed to building a movement of like-minded people, people willing to #ShowMoreSpine and commit to sharing ideas and strategies that can counter the squidgieness that we know is threatening to hurt us all.


#ShowMoreSpine Team


A jellyfish who, being a jellyfish, has no spine. He often gets squeezed and taunted because he has no spine. When you squeeze him, his eyeballs bulge and his head grows in size. Squidgy is the #ShowMoreSpine mascot.
In the Life Sciences business, he has a special relationship with Squidgy and protects him.
A highly intelligent but overworked healer crab who sees patients.
Are patients with vertebral fractures (or not) who swim down to consult the healer crab.
Are independent fish who swim about with very sturdy backbones.
Double D
An ominous stingray who glides across the ocean floor.


Teppo Järvinen - Founder and Lead
Professor of Orthopedics and Traumatology at University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland Fun fact: if Dr. Järvinen has a spare moment he enjoys playing Padel (a new sport that is a mashup of tennis, squash and badminton) and cheering for Tappara, a Finnish hockey team from his hometown.
Roope Kalske - Chief Admin Officer
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland I am an ambitious doctor and a father of three. For over three years I have gathered clinical experience in various locations, as well on the public and private sides of health care. Although finding clinical work more interesting by every treated patient I feel a growing compulsion to understand and design the structures and functions of our health care system.
Alan Cassels - Chief Editor
Alan Cassels is an independent health policy researcher and holds an adjunct faculty position in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria. Mr. Cassels has worked on research and evaluation studies for over 20 years focusing on evaluating drug benefits policies, consumer drug information, and influences on prescribing. A strong and outspoken proponent on the rational use of medicine, he has participated in numerous studies and written many reports on how clinical research information on pharmaceuticals and medical screening is communicated to policy-makers, prescribers, and consumers. He coauthored an international bestseller, Selling Sickness (2005) with Ray Moynihan about the role of the pharmaceutical industry in creating and marketing illness. In 2012, he published Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease. His latest book is The Cochrane Collaboration: Medicine’s Best Kept Secret. He currently researches and writes on overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Malcolm Willett - Animatrix
Designer, artist, sculptor, illustrator, cartoonist - London, UK I have worked as a freelance illustrator for various magazines and newspapers for 25 years, mostly with a focus on health subjects. I studied Biochemistry at university so my interest is in scientific matters but I am able to tackle most subjects. I often have to read difficult articles and crystallise the core ideas using humour, visual puns or metaphors. My styles are continually expanding, but I am able to return to a particular style if required. My present clients include the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Health Service Journal (HSJ), Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and Nursing Times. Previous clients include the Evening Standard where I illustrated articles in the Homes and Property section as well as providing cartoons, illustrations and caricatures for various other parts of the newspaper. I was also a syndicated cartoonist for several years, and was published in up to 200 newspapers worldwide. To view work from earlier in my career go to www.willett-ink.co.uk
Ajay Puri - Campaign Strategist
Ajay is committed to creating and helping others create social movements. He has 15 years experience in empowering communities and creating social change in the non-profit, academic, government and social innovation sectors. Mr. Puri was acknowledged for his work as a featured TEDx speaker, recognized as one of Canada's top five volunteers in CBC's Champions of Change contest, and selected as #30PeopleYouShouldKnow. Most recently, he led the digital media and engagement team for the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. He has also co-founded many movement based organizations including: Changemakers Vancouver, #EastVanLove, Bee Vancity, and RangiChangi Roots. He currently sits on the Leadership Council of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Web of Change and Social Change Institute at the Hollyhock Leadership Institute. He teaches / mentors at SFU RADIUS Ventures and Groundswell Social Ventures.


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If you have any ideas for us on making the campaign stronger or larger? Or a story to share? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch - info@showmorespine.com



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