Last May I had the opportunity to talk a while with Wired Magazine's Thomas Goetz about the idea of how people can take control their over own health care using the tools and data available on the Internet. His new book on the subject, entitled The Decision Tree
, is a step above most health improvement books in terms of the scholarship/readability (i.e. it's based on good science and it's easy for me to understand.)
The big idea is this: A person's health doesn't happen all at once; it's a consequence of years of choices - some large and some small, some good and some bad. His book looks at the choices that advances in genomics, self-monitoring, new screening techniques, and collaborative health tools are giving the average patient. The trouble is, there's so much information available that it's really, really hard to interpret it all. What to do? According to Goetz, the answer is to make a decision tree.
Decision trees or flowcharts that make all of these decisions more visible and more obviously something we are actually choosing. Unfortunately, most current decision trees look like the one to the right: technical and hard to understand
But where we are apparently headed is in the direction of interactive ones like this one at Preventative Math.net. It really makes the tradeoffs clear: If I do this (e.g. take a baby aspirin daily) I can expect to add X days to my life. For me, the daily aspirin adds a probable 293 day to life span - why wouldn't I do that?
The test and interface is simple. In fact, I wish there were a lot more factors to play with (e.g. how many days of life, if any, would a daily glass of red wine add, etc?) I eagerly await the day that an organization that I trust puts up a decision tree website like that with a lot more factors (daily alcohol intake, quantity of fruit eaten per day, basement radon test, etc.)
The legendary cup, designed to punish greedy drinkers, explained masterfully by Salad Fingers’ dad Sir Martyn Poliakoff. His YouTube channel is packed with similarly excellent videos wherein lab assistant Neil is persuaded to execute unnerving experiments. (previously.)
A trio of scholars who study the psychology and philosophy of science have written a fantastic paper for Springer’s Sythese looking at the way that climate change conspiracy theorists construct their view of the world, and how these conspiracy theories contain self-contradictory theses (like the idea that climate change can’t be predicted and the idea […]
Princeton University psych prof Susan Fiske published an open letter denouncing the practice of using social media to call out statistical errors in psychology research, describing the people who do this as “terrorists” and arguing that this was toxic because of the structure of social science scholarship, having an outsized effect on careers.
When you’ve had a long day and it’s time to unwind, there’s a lot you can do to relax: drink some tea, take a shower or even read a book. But there’s one thing that’s essential to a comfortable night’s rest—and that’s investing in some really good sheets. Enter Bamboo Bed Sheets. These quality sheets retail for $120, but […]
The Avantree Powerhouse 4 Port Fast USB Charging Station brings high quality, high power, and still keeps your work space or home looking neat and organized. The best part about this charger is its capacity. It comes packing 4 USB charging sockets and a powerful 4.5A/22.5W output.. Its smartport technology means you don’t have to worry about frying your battery, either—it […]
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