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    465. Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast

    en-usJune 10, 2021

    Podcast Summary

    • The Harvard Economist and Physician with a Unique Combination of DegreesBapu Jena is a rare combination of an economist and physician, with an interest in researching healthcare related questions. He continues to make valuable contributions to his field despite his rarity.

      Bapu Jena, an economist and a physician at Harvard, discusses his background and unique combination of degrees in a conversation with Stephen Dubner on a new podcast for Freakonomics Radio Network. Jena shares how he got his nickname 'Bapu' and the meaning behind it. He also explains his research interests, which mostly revolve around questions that relate to medicine and healthcare. With only an estimated 10 to 20 individuals with both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in economics, Jena is a rare find. However, this rarity does not discourage him from his quest for market power, and he continues to make valuable contributions to his field.

    • Dr. Anupam Jena's Causal Approach to Understanding Medicine and Economics.Dr. Jena's research focuses on determining causal relationships between medicine and economics through data analysis. His podcast follows the structure of a study, providing insights into medical research.

      Dr. Anupam Jena's research focuses on causally valid approaches to understand the intersection between economics, human behavior, and medicine. He often requires large amounts of data and does not focus on associations but wants to know if X causes Y. His approach has led to research on the fallibility of doctors, which was initially challenging to receive in the field. Jena's podcast, focusing on a single medical study, aims to follow the structure of a study with questions, data, approach, tentative answers, and implications. As a medical doctor, economist, and podcast host, Jena finds being a podcast host the most incredibly difficult thing in the world.

    • Emergency Access During the Boston MarathonDuring the Boston Marathon, emergency access to hospitals may be disrupted. As marathon season resumes, it is important to consider the impact of large events on emergency services and balance the benefits with potential consequences.

      The Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world and the disruption it causes to the city raises an important question - what happens to the people who need to reach hospitals during the race? The disruption caused by running marathons in the city can be severe, and as the pandemic subsides, people will need to balance their desire to run marathons with the cause of any disruptions to emergency services.

    • The Impact of Marathons on Emergency Medical CareLiving near a marathon route can increase the risk of death for heart attack and cardiac arrest patients on race day. Planning for emergency medical care during large events is crucial to ensure timely treatment for patients.

      Blocked roads during marathons can cause delays in emergency medical care for people along the race route. A team of researchers at Harvard analyzed over a decade of Medicare data to determine if living near a marathon route increased the risk of death for heart attack and cardiac arrest patients on race day. The study found that patients living within a mile of the race route were at a higher risk of dying from a heart attack or cardiac arrest on race day compared to non-race days. This highlights the importance of planning for emergency medical care during large events to ensure timely treatment for patients.

    • Increased Travel Time on Marathon Days Linked to Higher Mortality Rates for Heart Attack Patients Living NearbyDelays in treatment caused by increased travel time for ambulances on marathon days can cause significant damage to the heart. Prioritizing timely medical care in cases of heart attacks is crucial as every minute counts in preserving heart tissue.

      Patients living near marathon routes who suffer from heart attacks or cardiac arrests have a 13% higher chance of dying within 30 days of being hospitalized on race day than on non-race days. This is due to delays in treatment caused by increased travel time for ambulances on marathon days. Although small, these delays can cause significant damage to the heart. Other possible factors such as running in the marathon, patient characteristics, and hospital staff shortages were ruled out. It is crucial to prioritize timely medical care in cases of heart attacks, as every minute counts in preserving heart tissue.

    • The Impact of Delayed Medical Care in Patient Survival RatesTimely medical care is crucial for patient survival. Even small delays can increase mortality rates significantly. Act quickly when experiencing chest pain and call an ambulance. Let's explore the intersection of economics and medicine, and learn to make informed healthcare decisions.

      Delays in receiving proper medical care can have a significant impact on patient survival rates, with even small delays leading to a 13% increase in mortality. This study provides a natural experiment for the medical community to determine just how time-sensitive certain medical conditions are. It's important to act quickly when experiencing chest pain and to call an ambulance rather than relying on private transportation. In this podcast, we'll explore questions at the intersection of economics and medicine, and provide analytical tools to help individuals make informed healthcare decisions.

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