Understanding Medical Research – Part 3 – Interpreting Results

INTERPRETING MEDICAL RESEARCH STATISTICAL RESULTS

How to interpret the more common results found in medical research papers. What they mean, and how to spot problems.

From Benjamin Disraeli we have: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”eretr

Unfortunately this applies all too frequently to the statistical results presented in medical research. While statistics does indeed have the power to elucidate, to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, it also has the power to obfuscate and deceive. One should therefore pay very close attention if there is a possible political or financial agenda associated with the research.

Cholesterol Awareness Program – Drug Industry Deception

Cholesterol is not a Disease, Despite Drug Industry Claims

Cholesterol has taken a beating lately. What had been the established Medical Gospel for decades, that high cholesterol cholesterol-magnifying-glass-SScauses heart disease, appears to be false. I will explain why in detail in a moment, but first I want to warn you about yet another assault on your senses coming from the pharmaceutical industry. You see, if lowering cholesterol isn’t important, then the drugs that do it are no longer necessary. This is not something the pharmaceutical industry wants to hear.

The Practice of Quantitative Medicine

The Practice of Quantitative Medicine

The study of high energy physics has been compared to finding out how a watch works by throwing it against the wall to examine its parts. If you think of high energy colliders like CERN- the organization’s name is now used for the accelerator itself- that is pretty much how high energy physics is performed: accelerate sub-atomic particles to barely sub-lightspeed and then watch and measure the debris when that accelerated particle smashes into some other particle. While this is not very elegant it has proven to be a very useful way to understand sub-atomic physics. Historically and, of necessity, this process followed the development of a theoretical model  proposed by everyone from Ernest Rutherford to Niels Bohr. Those early men engaging in atom smashing had a picture in their head; the picture was refined by subsequent ‘watch smashings’ and the enhanced picture led to even more fruitful ‘watch smashings.’

Beta Blockers: The Problem Drug Is Dangerous

Beta Blockers Help No One, Harm Many, and Should Be Banned

In one previous post, I was screaming, and in another, I was tearing my hair out. In this one I am doing both.

There is a handy web site called www.theNNT.com. NNT means Number Needed to Treat. For example, if 200 need to take a drug so that 1 might avoid a heart attack, the NNT is 200.  If the Beta Blocker
drug that prevents heart attacks does not harm, then ‘why not?’ Statins have an NNT of about 300. However, they do harm to about 1 in 10, but (at least in the eyes of the pharmaceutical industry) that harm is less than the benefit. In any case, the NNH, or Number Needed to Harm, for statins is 10. (But I am not writing this post to rail once more about statins, but do promise endless future posts on this till statins go away.)

Osteoporosis – Its Cause and Cure – Without Drugs

Osteoporosis Can Be Prevented and Reversed Without Drugs

Osteoporosis is widely thought to be an affliction of elderly women, but it strikes both the non-elderly and the non-women too. It is also widely thought to be non-curable and non-reversible. unnamedThese are both wrong as well. Osteoporotic bones lead to the reduction of stature and the hunched over appearance with which everyone is familiar. This is tragic, but is made even more so due to the fact that it is 100% preventable. Beyond the posture there is the specter of pain and an unstable gait which leads to falls which leads to fractures and so on: the sweater of life starts unraveling.

Understanding Medical Research – Part 2 – Types of Research

fgTYPES OF MEDICAL RESEARCH STUDIES

Warning: This post is a bit technical and very long. It may be more useful as a reference, should you happen upon a medical research study and want to understand some of the terminology better.

There is a vast body of medical research papers and reports available on-line. The abstract is almost always free and the paper itself is frequently free. There are two sources, PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/). They both appear to have effectively all the research available on-line, but Google Scholar has one big advantage: If the full paper can be found outside a pay-wall, Google Scholar will show it. On the other hand, PubMed has a more elaborate search engine.

Insulin Therapy for Adult Onset Diabetics

Insulin Therapy Should Be Illegal

Some things make me want to scream. In Adult Onset (Type II) Diabetes, glucose regulation has hit the limit. Normally, if the body consumes glucose (sugar or starchy food), the blood Insulin therapyglucose level will rise. In response to this, the body will secrete insulin in an attempt to regulate and bring glucose levels down to around 80 mg/dl. This is about a teaspoon of sugar in the 5 quarts of blood most people have. This is a pretty critical level and important for overall health.