Tag: mortality

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.? (2019 edition)

The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US has always rested on very shaky evidence; yet it's become common wisdom that is cited as though everyone accepts it. But if estimates of 250,000 to 400,000 deaths due to medical error are way too high, what is the real number? A study published last month suggests...

/ February 4, 2019

Contrary to what we are frequently told, we are not “losing the war on cancer”

A common narrative about cancer is that we are making no progress in our fight against it. Fortunately, the actual data do not agree. Yes, too many people still die of cancer and progress is slow, but it's not correct to claim that we are losing the war on cancer.

/ April 3, 2017

American Mortality Ticks Up

Life expectancy in the US decreased slightly in 2015. While this is a one-year phenomenon, and the long term trend continues to be one of increasing life expectancy, there are some interesting lessons in the data.

/ December 14, 2016

The rise and inevitable fall of Vitamin D

It’s been difficult to avoid the buzz about vitamin D over the past few years. While it has a  long history of use in the medical treatment of osteoporosis, a large number of observational studies have linked low vitamin D levels to a range of illnesses. The hypothesis that there is widespread deficiency in the population has led to interest in measuring...

/ June 23, 2016

The cost of repealing mandatory motorcycle helmet laws

It’s a seldom mentioned aspect of my professional history that I used to do a lot of trauma surgery in my youth. I did my residency at a program that included a county hospital with a busy trauma program where I saw quite a bit of vehicular carnage and an urban hospital (which has since closed) where I saw a fair amount...

/ January 18, 2016

Red Meat: Is It Hazardous to Health?

Red meat consumption has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer (breast, colorectal, stomach, bladder, prostate, and lymphoma). There are plausible mechanisms: meat is a source of carcinogens, iron that may increase oxidative damage, and saturated fat. But correlation and plausibility are not enough to establish causation. Is red meat really dangerous? If so, how great is the...

/ May 25, 2010