QUESTION TEXT: As advances in medical research and technology…
QUESTION TYPE: Paradox
PARADOX: Life spans have increased, and we are healthier. Yet we have a higher rate of serious infections.
ANALYSIS: We need something that explains why infections are up even though health in general has improved. Answer E does this by showing that our health treatments only work because they expose people to infections. (e.g. chemotherapy)
Most people get this question wrong. It’s a very good question, because it tests your ability to spot detail. The stimulus says that the rate of infections has increased. An example of rate is “37 infections per thousand people”. Answer choice D is the most popular answer, but it says number of infections. An example of a number is “37”.
People confuse number and rate all the time. Take crime statistics. Cities tend to be safer than rural regions. New York city has a high number of murders, because millions of people live there. But the murder rate in NYC is actually quite low.
- You must take “some” at its weakest on answer choices. This answer could mean that 0.00001% of doctors prescribe the wrong medicine. That doesn’t affect anything.
- This doesn’t explain anything about infections.
- This doesn’t explain why infections have increased, even though health is better.
- This is incredibly tempting. It is warranted to assume that population has increased – everyone knows this is true. So based on this answer, we can say that there is a higher number of serious infections.
But the stimulus is talking about rate, not number! Rate = amount of infections per capita. So the total population has nothing to do with the rate.
- CORRECT. This shows that the treatments that improve our health also increase the infection rate.
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