A small number of patients with multiple, chronic conditions use a lot of resources. Dr. Jeffrey Brenner found a way to identify and treat them. Could it reduce health-care spending too?
Bapu tries to stump master clinician Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal with a medical mystery.
At the start of the 20th century, there weren’t many hospitals in the U.S. That changed in 1918, thanks to the Great Influenza pandemic. Its effects on health care are still being felt today. Which makes us wonder: will the impact of Covid-19 also be felt 100 years from now?
Promising drugs keep failing in trials. Allegations of fraud have cast a shadow over the field. An expert explains why Alzheimer’s treatments have been so hard to find — and why one clue may lie in the Andes Mountains.
Bapu talks to White House Covid Czar Dr. Ashish Jha about becoming a household name, studying pandemics, and the frustrations of politics. Also, when will he be out of a job?
Antibiotics save lives. But what happens when we use them too much? Bapu looks at how changing physician behavior could help prevent a major public health disaster.
Behavioral economists say “regret lotteries” are powerful motivational tools. When Philadelphia tried one in 2021, the results were disappointing. Bapu looks at how incentives can backfire — and what we can learn from failures.
When researchers analyzed which day of the week most F.D.A. drug-safety alerts are released — and what it means for public health — they were stunned. So, what can we do about the “Friday Effect?”
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Since doctors are human, they bring their own beliefs and preferences into the examining room. But they’ve also taken an oath to act in the best interest of all patients. What happens when politics and medicine collide?
The National Institutes of Health is the backbone of health research in the U.S., and Collins has been in charge for more than a decade. Now that he’s stepping down, he ponders the arc of his history-making career, from his leadership of the Human Genome Project to the fight against Covid-19 (not to mention the absolute happiest moment of his life).
Studies by men published in scientific journals are more likely to include glowing, hyperbolic terms. Bapu talks about this “groundbreaking” research (see what we did there?) in a wide-ranging discussion with physicians and an economist about the gender gap in medicine.
When you need a ride to the hospital, who should you call? Bapu talks with economist David Slusky about how ridesharing services are increasingly replacing ambulances. Plus, an unexpected reason why rideshares may lead some people to unhealthy behaviors.
Once upon a time, Bapu Jena was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. His most interesting teacher? The economist Steve Levitt. This week on Freakonomics, M.D., a replay of a conversation between Steve and Bapu from Steve’s podcast, People I (Mostly) Admire, where they cover everything from the ethics of human-challenge trials to why Bapu decided to start his own show.
Ideas are currency. This couldn’t be more true in academia, where it’s the job of researchers to think of questions and, hopefully, find answers. Bapu talks with economists Steve Levitt and Emily Oster about how they come up with ideas for studies, why most never make it off the ground, and what should be done with scrapped projects.
Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. die while they’re waiting for a new kidney, yet thousands of available organs get thrown away. Bapu talks to a kidney doctor and an economics Nobel laureate about why this happens and how the system could improve.
Hear diagnostician Gurpreet Dhaliwal try to solve the case of a patient who came to the emergency room with an unusual combination of symptoms. Plus, we discuss how difficult it is to separate the signal from the noise when treating patients, and how cognitive biases factor into doctors’ decision-making.
When researchers analyzed which day of the week most drug-safety alerts are released — and what it means for public health — they were stunned. So was Bapu Jena. He talks with them and a physician this week about the “Friday Effect,” a common problem with big repercussions for the safety of the medications.
This week, Bapu Jena presents some hot-off-the-presses research exploring the relationship between how many patients a doctor sees, and how well those patients do. Plus, the surprising impact of annual cardiology conferences that prompted Bapu’s first conversation with Stephen Dubner on Freakonomics Radio.
Bapu Jena talks with a barber and a pharmacist whose study brought healthcare to Black men in Los Angeles who were getting haircuts. They discuss its impact on high blood pressure among customers — and how unconventional approaches like this could help build trust.
A woman comes to the emergency room with back pain. She’ll leave with an unexpected diagnosis. How does her doctor figure out what’s wrong? Listen as host Bapu Jena puts master clinician Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal on the spot to solve a real medical mystery. Along the way, you’ll learn how doctors think and the most important questions they ask.
Humans are hardwired to focus on the left digit in numbers. It’s why products are priced at $3.99 instead of $4.00. But does this left-digit bias also affect medical decisions? Host Bapu Jena is joined by a fellow researcher and a cardiologist to explain how left-digit bias shows up in one of the most important decisions a doctor can make, what it means for patients, and what we can do about it.
After struggling to schedule a flu shot for his own toddler, host Bapu Jena went down a research rabbit hole. He discovered that the time of year kids are born has an unexpected and dramatic effect on whether they and their families end up getting the flu. Bapu explains his findings and asks a pediatrician and public health expert what could be done about it.
Host Bapu Jena is an economist and medical doctor whose latest research measures the link between birthdays and Covid. He explains his team’s findings, explores the role that kids’ parties may have played, reveals whether politics made a difference, and convinces a Zoom magician to reveal the secrets of making virtual parties awesome.
Bapu Jena was already a double threat: a doctor who’s also an economist. Now he’s a podcast host too. In this sneak preview of the Freakonomics Radio Network’s newest show, Bapu discovers that marathons can be deadly — but not for the reasons you may think.
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