A wonderful three part series on medicine from Freakonomics Radio. While the title of the series Bad Medicine is a bit of sensational misnomer after listening to them, it’s more about three areas of medicine that are prone to more problems than most.
We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.
We begin with the story of 98.6. You know the number, right? It’s one of the most famous numbers there is. Because the body temperature of a healthy human being is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Isn’t it?
a second show is on:
How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on “dream patients” who aren’t representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.
and a third show on:
By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what’s to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.
You can listen or download all three episodes here: