December 17, 2017

Clear? Look Again!

Car CrashDr. Redelmeier researcher for 20 years, now at the University of Toronto has applied scientific rigor to topics dismissed as quirky and iconoclastic. His work has revealed some deep truths about the predictors of longevity, health care and the workings of the medical mind.

Being the first to study cellphones and automobile crashes, in 1997 he concluded that talking on a cellphone while driving was as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. He found that 25 more people die in crashes on Election Days in the US than the norm, attributed to increased traffic, rushed drivers and unfamiliar routes.

He also discovered there was a 41% increase of fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday, attributed to a combination of fatigue, distraction and alcohol. Often he works from a hunch. After examining the University of Toronto medical school admission interview reports from 2004-2009, he correlated the interview scores with weather archives and determined that on foul-weather days candidates received lower ratings than those who visited on sunny days.

During the 1980's Dr. Redelmeier met a cognitive psychologist, Amos Tversky, who inspired the field of behavioral economics and changed his thinking entirely.  He credits Professor Tversky with shaping his own approach to research in the medical realm by providing him with a language and a logic for tackling issues that seemed to be around but weren't apparent to others.

Some of his homespun philosophies seen written on index cards in his modest office are: Fans don't let fans drink and drive. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. A great deal of mischief occurs when people are in a rush.