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Forecasting Life Expectancy and Medical Decision Making

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Wednesday 21 November 2012, 14:00
LT2, Management School

Emeritus Professor Spyros Makridakis

Abstract: Good health and longevity are desirable goals for human beings. Doctors suggest an array of preventive measures for improving one’s health and increasing life expectancy. This talk considers the effectiveness of such measures while discussing the costs involved. It argues that the ability of medicine to predict improvements in health and life expectancy is limited or non-existent and always associated with a cost. The specific case of high blood pressure is used to show the limitations of medical research and why the recommendations based on such research must be questioned. In addition, the costs (both monetary and in terms of undesirable side effects) are documented so that an objective decision can be made by patients taking into account both the potential benefits as well as the substantial costs.  

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