Naive Intervention in Medicine

The story of many drugs (Thalidomide) and procedures (Lobotomy) and even culinary inventions (trans fat) is as follows: small-initial-visible-benefits followed by large-delayed-invisible-harm.

Minus life threatening cases, it’s often better to do nothing than something. Yet physicians are rarely praised for doing nothing—even when that is the optimal choice—while big pharma has convinced us that when we detect even the slightest sense of unease—a single cough or inch—we should do something immediately. It’s a profitable business model. I once traveled with a friend who took NyQuil and DayQuil for several days to curb a fever. If they sold Dawn, Dusk, Noon, and AfternoonQuil, he’d buy it.

“The non-natural needs to prove its benefits, not the natural.”


Naive Intervention: plastic surgery makes us uglier, just as therapy makes us insecure and dieting makes us fatter.

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