Smoking, alcohol, and the north-south divide . . . and other storiesBMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1240 (Published 16 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1240
Cassandra, you may recall, was given the power of foretelling the future. Medicine tries to tell the future through genomics, risk scores, telomeres, biochemical markers, and even the faecal microbiome. But when Gerd Gigerenzer and a colleague conducted surveys in Germany and Spain, they found that between 85% and 90% of people would not want to know about upcoming negative events, and 40% to 70% prefer to remain ignorant of positive events. Only 1% of participants consistently wanted to know. Their paper on regret theory (Psychol Rev doi:10.1037/rev0000055) is bound to become a classic.
Pre-eclamptic toxaemia and cardiovascular disease
Pre-eclamptic toxaemia in pregnancy is an example of a “Cassandra condition,” one which increases the future risk of bad events in ways we don't …
Log in using your username and password
Log in through your institution
Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial