Culture

100 Compelling Health and Medicine Questions Answered by Theodore Dalrymple

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For several years now the inimitable Theodore Dalrymple has provided PJ Media and PJ Lifestyle with erudite, witty commentaries on controversies in the worlds of health, drugs, and disease, as well as their impact on culture. Here’s a collection featuring links to many of the questions he’s addressed, often in response to some shaky thinking in a new study or an ideologically slanted medical journal article.

What health and medical questions would you like to see him and other writers explore in the future? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

2011 and 2012

  1. Is Salt Really Bad for Your Heart?
  2. Are There Health Effects Due to the Financial Crisis?
  3. Should the ‘Morning After’ Pill Be Available to All Ages?
  4. Can Children Be Manipulated into Eating Their Veggies?
  5. Should We Be Worried about Bird Flu?
  6. Is Surgery Not Always Necessary for Appendicitis?
  7. Genomic Medicine: A Great Leap Forward?
  8. Aspirin: The Elixir of Life?
  9. Do Nicotine Patches Actually Work?
  10. Does ‘Good Cholesterol’ Really Help Prevent Heart Attacks?
  11. Should Women’s High School Soccer Be Banned To Reduce Knee Injuries?
  12. Is Grief Always Depression?
  13. Does Fish Oil Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
  14. Do Proactive Measures by Doctors Aid in Smoking Cessation?
  15. Can Dark Chocolate Reduce High Blood Pressure?
  16. How Come People Rarely Die of Dementia in Poor Countries?
  17. Should You Take Antibiotics?
  18. Is Obesity a Disease or a Moral Failing?
  19. Are Obese Kids Victims of Child Abuse?
  20. Need A Few Arguments Against Tattoos?
  21. Are the Treatment and Prevention of Obesity Different Problems?
  22. Why Are Psychiatric Disorders Not the Same as Physical Diseases?
  23. Do Today’s Medical Ethics Prevent New Breakthroughs?
  24. Should We Be Worried About Parasites from Cats?
  25. Do Doctors Turn Their Patients into Drug Addicts?
  26. Should Doctors Lie to Their Patients About Their Survival Chances?
  27. As Life Expectancy Increases Will the Elderly Become a Greater ‘Burden on Society’?

2013

  1. What Is the Best Way to Treat Diabetes?
  2. What Can Be Done to Reduce Post-Hospital Syndrome?
  3. How Can a Mammogram Kill You?
  4. Human Feces as Medicine?
  5. What Will Happen if I Consume Too Much Calcium?
  6. Is Marijuana a Medicine?
  7. Why Is Immunization so Controversial?
  8. Is America at the Point Where HIV Testing Should Be Routine?
  9. Is Physical Therapy Overrated?
  10. How Many Smokers Could Quit If Someone Paid Them $10 Million?
  11. Is Nutrition Really the Key to Good Health?
  12. Is It Even Possible to Accurately Measure Physical Pain?
  13. Can Doctors Determine Who Should Be Allowed to Carry a Concealed Gun?
  14. Does Practice Really Make Perfect for Doctors?
  15. Should Doctors Be Allowed to Choose Not to Treat Fat People?
  16. Should Pre-Term Infants Receive Risky Oxygen Treatments?
  17. We Mock Prudish Victorian Euphemisms, But Are We Really Any Better?
  18. How Often Do Medical Emergencies Occur on Flights?
  19. What Is the Safest Day of the Week for Surgery?
  20. Are Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases Mother Nature’s Revenge?
  21. How Dangerous Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea During Surgery?
  22. Can Advances in Medical Technology Make Us Less Healthy?
  23. Does Badgering Patients to Exercise and Eat Better Actually Work?
  24. Should an Alcoholic Be Allowed to Get a Second Liver Transplant?
  25. Can Living With Chickens Protect Against Face-Eating Bacteria?
  26. Does the Sleep Aid Zolpidem Impair Driving the Next Day?
  27. Does Too Much Sugar Increase the Risk of Dementia?
  28. Men: Need Another Excuse to Put Off That Prostate Exam?
  29. Is Drug Addiction Really Like ‘Any Other Chronic Illness’?
  30. How Many Doctors Support Suicide for the Terminally Ill?
  31. What Are the Dangers in Screening for Diseases?
  32. Was Sir Winston Churchill Right About Exercise?
  33. Should Doctors Relax the ‘Dead-Donor Rule’ to Increase Organ Transplants?
  34. Is Living Near an Airport Dangerous for Your Health?
  35. Can Money Become Medicine?
  36. Gastric Bypass or Laparoscopic Gastric Band?
  37. How Do You Measure a Good Doctor Vs a Bad One?
  38. Should You Eat Lots of Nuts?
  39. As More People Live Longer Why Are Rates of Dementia Falling?
  40. Should Treatment of Obesity Begin Before Birth?
  41. Why Is It So Difficult to Translate Genetic Breakthroughs into Clinical Benefits?
  42. Can Scientists Create a Cure for Pain From Scorpions, Spiders, and Centipedes?

2014

  1. Should the Age to Buy Cigarettes Be 21?
  2. Should You Vaccinate Your Children?
  3. Is Your Heart Attack More Likely to Kill You at Night or During the Day?
  4. A Cure For Peanut Allergies?
  5. Should Taxpayers Pay for the Junky’s Substitute Smack?
  6. Who Pays for Illegal Immigrant Tetraplegics’ Treatment?
  7. How Much Would You Pay to Survive Four Months Longer with a Terminal Disease?
  8. Euthanasia for the Insane?
  9. Does Valium Increase Your Chances of An Early Death?
  10. Are Diet Supplements Dangerous?
  11. Did Flu Drug Companies Perpetuate a Billion Dolllar Scam Around the World?
  12. What is One of the Most Dangerous Ideas in All of Medicine?
  13. Why Do Some Mothers Induce Illness in Their Own Children?
  14. Why Might a Doctor Be Relieved When a New Study Fails To Reduce Deaths?
  15. Should Prisoners Receive Better Health Care Than the General Population?
  16. Is Ebola the World’s Most Terrifying Disease?
  17. What Can Happen to Your Lungs if You Smoke 20 Cigarettes Every Day for A Decade?
  18. Is This the End of Mammograms to Screen for Breast Cancer?
  19. Do Medical Experiments on Animals Really Yield Meaningful Results?
  20. Will Legal Marijuana Be a Bonanza for Trial Lawyers?
  21. Should You Get Your DNA Tested to See if You’re More Likely to Get Cancer?
  22. What to do when the Risk of Treatment Outweighs the Benefits?
  23. Why Must We Take One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in the Battle Against Tuberculosis?
  24. Is Ignorance Really Bliss? What Is the ‘Nocebo’ Effect?
  25. What Does Moral Narcissism Looks Like in the Medical World?
  26. Why is Treating Statistical Markers of Disease Is Not the Same as Treating Disease Itself?
  27. Heterochronic Parabiosis: Reversing Aging With Young Blood?
  28. Should Everyone Consume Less Sodium?
  29. Does a Popular Antibiotic Raise the Risk of Heart Attack?
  30. Do You Really Need That Colonoscopy?
  31. Is It ‘Unjust’ for Doctors to Die from Ebola?

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image illustration via shutterstock /  Sherry Yates Young