See Inside August/September 2006

Which Flu Risk Would You Take?

Individuals facing a medical dilemma are more likely to choose a riskier course for themselves than for others.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and the V.A. Ann Arbor Healthcare System asked 2,400 participants in an online study to play one of four roles: a patient deciding on individual treatment, a parent choosing for a child, a physician advising a patient, or a medical director setting guidelines for many patients. The volunteers were then asked to imagine a serious flu outbreak that presented a 10 percent chance of causing death and were given the option to take a new flu vaccine that carried a 5 percent chance of being fatal.

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