Ted Talk Discussion: Are We Over-medicalized?

Reuters health editor Ivan Oransky warns that we’re suffering from an epidemic of preposterous preconditions — pre-diabetes, pre-cancer, and many more. In this engaging talk from TEDMED he shows how health care can find a solution… by taking an important lesson from baseball.

Ivan Oransky at TEDMED 2012

Useful Vocabulary

Conservative estimate
to medicalize – to treat a medical problem without a real reason.
to get sued
Swinging for the fences – trying to hit the ball as hard as possible to win

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who was predicted to be a star?
  2. Who told him (Ivan) to go to college?
  3. People in the United States are constantly being diagnosed with ‘preconditions’, is this true or false?
  4. How much is spent on healthcare in the United States?
  5. He feels the medical industry is actively helping people through prediagnosis?
  6. What does he mean by the phrase “if you build it they will come?”.
  7. He doesn’t have high blood pressure?

Comprehension Answers

  1. Billy Bean from the film, Money Ball.
  2. His mother.
  3. True.
  4. $2 trillion ($2,000,000,000,000).
  5. False. He thinks that prediagnosis is used to increase profits for medical companies.
  6. The idea that if there are more methods to uncover preconditions they will only lead to people being diagnosed only because the medical industry has a financial incentive to be diagnosed and creating risk factors. This leads to people worrying unnecessarily.
  7. Yes, he does have high blood pressure.

Group Discussion

  • If you were able to change the medical system in your country what would you do and why? How would you fund those changes and in what ways can it be sustained for the long term?
  • Are people worrying about their health more because they have more time to think about their living environment?
  • Is there an incentive for pharmaceutical companies and hospitals to find non-critical illnesses just so they can make more money?

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