This post, by Carmen Mitchell, originally appeared on The Incidental Economist. Carmen Mitchell is currently a fourth-year health policy doctoral student in the Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS). She is currently affiliated with The Afya Project, an interdisciplinary research initiative
In one of his recent Health Care Triage videos, Aaron Carroll calls attention to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that supposedly tells us something new about plant-based diets and health.
In the 1980s through the mid-1990s there was little the health system could do to address AIDS. Today there is a lot. Would we therefore attribute no deaths to AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s to access to health care and some of them to that factor today?
Education is related to health. Better educated people tend to be healthier. Why? The pathways from education to health are varied and complex, as explained by Paula Braveman, one of the speakers at our Princeton meeting.
Here’s a puzzle: To what would you attribute deaths from AIDS today? Genetics? Behavior? Social or environmental factors? The health system (or its failure)? Something else? Once you have your answer, how would you know it was right? How would you test it? What evidence would you need? What studies would you do?