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Episode No.
Date
Length
No. 47

The Hidden Consequences of School Shootings

Beyond the immediate casualties, school shootings have costs — for survivors, and for the rest of us.

8/4/22
29:16
No. 46

Should We Trust Hospital Rankings?

Hospitals compete for prime spots on the U.S. News rankings — but could those lists be doing more harm than good?

7/28/22
32:38
No. 17

How Does Retirement Affect Your Brain? (Replay)

Our cognitive health can change as we get older. So, does leaving the workforce make problems like memory loss and difficulty focusing worse? We investigate the research, and Bapu asks: is it time for his dad to retire?

7/21/22
24:46
No. 45

Could Long Covid Help Treat Other Chronic Illnesses?

Chronic fatigue syndrome looks remarkably similar to Long Covid, but has been ignored by the medical community. Could patients finally get some answers to their debilitating illness?

7/14/22
33:28
No. 44

Why Is July a Bad Month to Visit the Hospital?

Learning requires practice — and if you visit a teaching hospital in July, there’s a good chance your doctor hasn’t had much of it. So, will your care suffer? The dean of a medical school, an economist, and a hospital administrator help Bapu Jena find out.

7/7/22
33:15
No. 43

Office Hours with Bapu

Can you diagnose cancer too early? Do in-flight medical emergencies vary by location? We asked you to send Bapu your questions, and this week he tries to answer them. We’d love to get to the bottom of even more topics. Send your voice memos to bapu@freakonomics.com

6/30/22
37:25
No. 42

The Comedian-Ophthalmologist Will See You Now

Dr. Will Flanary, a.k.a Dr. Glaucomflecken, has always been a comedy fan. During the pandemic, he found an audience. But should doctors be funny with their patients? Bapu Jena asks when laughter is — and isn’t — the best medicine.

6/23/22
36:48
No. 41

Your Doctor Has to Go Home. Now What?

When a doctor’s shift ends, or a physician retires, are patients left in the lurch? Bapu Jena looks at the challenge of managing medical transitions.

6/16/22
32:38
No. 40

Is Rainy Day Joint Pain All in Your Head?

You’ve heard that the weather can make your joints hurt. Maybe you’ve even felt it yourself. But, is it true? Bapu Jena looks at why we think we know certain things in medicine, even when the data don’t agree.

6/9/22
32:37
No. 39

How Will We Handle the Heat?

The world is warmer than ever, and getting hotter. Bapu Jena looks at how heat affects our bodies and our behavior — and how we might adapt to rising temperatures.

6/2/22
26:27
No. 6

A Shave, a Haircut, and a Blood Pressure Test (Update)

For Black men, the barbershop is a neighborhood hub. It could also be a place for them to get medical care. Plus: What happens to patients when affirmative action ends?

5/26/22
29:46
No. 38

Pfizer’s CEO on the Big Gamble That Brought Us the COVID Vaccine

Bapu Jena talks with Albert Bourla about his unusual path to the top, developing a life-saving vaccine in record time, and the second-hardest decision he made along the way.

5/19/22
34:48
No. 37

Can Fear Be Good Medicine?

Fear is a popular tool in public health campaigns. But is it an effective one? Bapu Jena discusses new research on whether we can — and should — scare people into being healthier.

5/12/22
28:42
No. 36

Bad News — It’s Your Surgeon’s Birthday

Distractions are everywhere — including in the operating room. So, what happens if a surgeon loses focus? A tap dancer, a health researcher, and a surgeon help Bapu Jena find out.

5/5/22
34:13
No. 35

Are More Expensive Hospitals Better?

For lots of things, price is an indicator of quality. But what about in health care? Bapu Jena gets some clues from Steve Levitt’s wine tasting experiment, and looks at why shopping for healthcare is so hard.

4/28/22
30:27
No. 34

Should We Have to Pay for Our Sins?

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco promise to make people healthier and raise public funds. But can they backfire? Bapu Jena looks at the complicated economics of sin taxes.

4/21/22
26:30
No. 33

What Do a Full Moon, the Super Bowl, and Tax Day Have in Common?

Tax deadlines can stress us out. But do they also influence our conscious — and subconscious — behavior? Bapu Jena looks at why, with our health, timing is often everything.

4/14/22
29:52
No. 32

What is a Good Death — and Why Do So Few of Us Get One?

When it comes to end-of-life medical care, getting it right can be hard — even for doctors. Bapu Jena discusses surprising research on how we can live better — and maybe longer — before we die.

4/7/22
24:05
No. 31

Should You Trust Angelina Jolie or Your Doctor?

Celebrities influence the clothes we wear and the books we read. Do they also affect our health decisions? Bapu Jena looks at what happens when people take medical advice from movie stars.

3/31/22
26:58
No. 30

How Do We Know if Alcohol Is Bad for Us?

Getting solid answers in medicine can be hard — especially when the normal tools are off-limits. Dr. Bapu Jena discusses a research method that’s helping to solve some of science’s most challenging questions.

3/24/22
32:42
No. 29

How to Save a Stranger’s Heart

Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death globally. What if it doesn’t have to be that way? Bapu Jena walks us through some solutions that can help save lives — and explores why change in medicine can be hard.

3/17/22
32:15
No. 28

Is Daylight Saving Time Hazardous to Your Health?

Changing the clocks has been linked to car accidents and heart attacks. This week, Bapu Jena sheds some light on the damage we might be doing by springing forward and falling back.

3/10/22
27:46
No. 27

What Can Bin Laden Teach Us About Medicine?

When trust in doctors or the healthcare system is lost, it’s really hard to get back. Bapu Jena explores the ripple effects of a C.I.A. operation to catch Osama bin Laden on medical distrust in Pakistan — and its parallels to distrust in the U.S.

3/3/22
28:07
No. 26

When is a ‘High-Risk’ Pregnancy a Good Thing?

Giving birth in the United States can be dangerous for both moms and their kids. Sometimes, that’s because of too little medical care — and sometimes, it’s the opposite.

2/24/22
34:54
No. 25

Would You Rather See a Computer or a Doctor?

Well, which is better at predicting your risk of having a heart attack? Bapu Jena explores the promise — and perils — of artificial intelligence in medicine.

2/17/22
32:24
No. 24

How Can You Choose the Best Doctor?

We often select doctors based on their reputations or on misconceptions about what really matters. But research shows that doctors’ experience and where they trained can significantly impact patient care.

2/10/22
36:00
No. 23

Is the Placebo Effect for Real?

In Latin, the word “placebo” means “I shall please.” In the medical world, placebos mean something … well, a little different. Bapu Jena walks us through the thorny world of placebo research and the implications the placebo effect can have for patients.

2/3/22
37:11
No. 22

What If TV Isn’t Bad for Us?

We now have more access to TV, movies, and streaming entertainment than anytime in history. So what do we actually know about what all that screen time does to us? We look back at some compelling studies that show, actually, it may change us for the better.

1/27/22
35:24
No. 21

Should We Pay People to Be Healthier?

Each year, millions of people get sick or die from diseases caused by their own unhealthy behavior. Getting people to change their bad habits – to quit smoking, eat better, or exercise – can be extremely hard. But what if we paid them?

1/20/22
29:18
No. 20

Do Our Politics Need a Doctor?

Bill Frist was a transplant surgeon before serving in the Senate, where he drove controversial legislation on embryonic stem cells and end-of-life care. Did he change politics? Or did politics change him?

1/13/22
35:40
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