Human Limits

Exploring performance and health with Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Photo of Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Archive for the ‘Media Appearances’ Category

Olympic Swimmer Katie Ledecky Blows Competition Out of the Water

Olympic Swimmer Katie Ledecky Blows Competition Out of the Water


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Dick Fosbury vs. Guidelines

Over the past couple of years I have argued that the current world wide obsession with “big data” and metrics is going to lead all sorts of people astray in many fields. The related idea is that every human activity can be turned into a quality improvement project with guidelines and check boxes that will reduce error and improve outcomes.   Taken too far these twin beliefs are going to limit the sort of individual mastery and innovation needed to find novel solutions to our problems.


A couple of months ago I gave a presentation at Mayo where I highlighted the problems of too much standardization in medicine and the risk it poses to better patient care and innovation. I used parallels with the high jumpers Dick Fosbury and Debbie Brill who as teenagers in the 1960s invented the ‘flop’ and went over the bar backwards. In the current world would their efforts have been stifled by a compliance bureaucracy insisting they face the high jump bar while going over? What would the “approval process” for this new technique be in 2014? How many other barriers might be thrown up in the current world to stop them from moving high jumping forward by going backwards?


I explore these and related issues in the talk below. It is a long presentation about 40 minutes, but bear with me and I think you will enjoy the questions and observations raised in the talk.




Can You Get Too Much Exercise?


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How The Body Responds to Blood Loss: Mayo Clinic News Network



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Biology Online: The Real Cause of Obesity?


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Outside Magazine Article


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A View on Blood Doping

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Doc Calls Deconditioning a Condition

Mike’s ideas on deconditioning as a condition were reported on in Scientific American and NPR.