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Article I wish every doctor would read: When Evidence Says No, But Doctors Say Yes

This article makes a convincing case that some of today’s most prescribed procedures and drugs, such as heart stents, beta-blockers, aspirin, and meniscus surgeries, are doing more harm than good. It did a lot to support my growing belief that people of the future will look at today’s medical procedures with much of the same incredulity and disgust that we experience when learning about the medical practices of early human societies. I could be wrong about that, but I am entirely sure you’ll look at medicine in a very different way if you make it though even half of the above article.

  • Key points, quotes, terms, and stats:

– “In a 2013 study, a dozen doctors from around the country examined all 363 articles published in The New England Journal of Medicine over a decade — 2001 through 2010 — that tested a current clinical practice, from the use of antibiotics to treat people with persistent Lyme disease symptoms (didn’t help) to the use of specialized sponges for preventing infections in patients having colorectal surgery (caused more infections). Their results, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found 146 studies that proved or strongly suggested that a current standard practice either had no benefit at all or was inferior to the practice it replaced; 138 articles supported the efficacy of an existing practice, and the remaining 79 were deemed inconclusive.”

– In a 2012, research was conducted to determine how stent implantation stacked up against other methods of cardiovascular treatment. The conclusion of this research was that putting stents into stable patients seem to provide absolutely no protection from heart attacks.

– “A meta-analysis of sleep-aid drugs in older adults found that for every 13 people who took a sedative, like Ambien, one had improved sleep — about 25 minutes per night on average — while one in six experienced a negative side effect, with the most serious being increased risk for car accidents.”

– Meta-analysis: An examination of data from a number of independent studies of the same subject, in order to determine overall trends.


Person Worth Following: Naval Ravikant

“A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought, they must be earned.” – Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant is a sort of philosopher king of Silicon Valley. He has invested in dozens of very successful companies, and is cofounder of the popular website/company AngelList. He combines cold hard business knowledge with cutting insights on the nature of the human condition, and how one can achieve happiness. Though I actually disagree with him on many points (Namely, his references to Evolutionary Psychology, a field which I think is mostly unsubstantiated nonsense) I also feel that he is an incredibly clear thinker, and very unafraid of going against conventional ideas. I’m attaching a few of my favorite interviews with him below.



Skip to around 2:50 for the start of this episode



“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

– Winston Churchill

“Destroying the rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”

– E.O Wilson


Photo of the Week