Tag Archives: Risk

Why smoking is (still) the worst thing you can do for your health

When I saw the headlines claiming that eating a high protein diet was ‘as bad for you as smoking’, I snorted and got on with my breakfast. I know that a headline like that is likely to be based on spin, over-inflation of some observational study results and a slow news day. There were more […]

What are the odds of that?

The front page of today’s Times announces a proposal that children should have ‘lessons in gambling’ at school. It’s enough to make the Methodist maiden aunts reach for the smelling salts, but actually it sounds quite a good idea to me. Understanding risk is one of the toughest lessons we learn. Mostly, we make decisions […]

Better information, for better patients

Why don’t people make good choices around health? Why do we persist in unhealthy behaviour, choose ‘alternative’ therapies that don’t work, demand antibiotics for viral illness? The usual answer is that the general public – lazy, feckless, a bit dim – is to blame. Or maybe the media, feeding them vaccine scares or over-blown stories […]

The risky business of life and death

Calculating the probability of something happening – good or bad – is a task we all do hundreds of times a day. Is the road clear enough to cross? If I have another cup of tea, will I miss my train? Do I need an umbrella today, or sunglasses (or both)? Mostly, we do it […]