Have you ever found opposing studies or medical articles confusing?
Well you’re not alone!
This post is designed to give you the opportunity to literally lift your scientific understanding maybe more than a notch. It is meant to give you the opportunity to shift your perspective and ability to discern between a sales pitch, and what is so.
It is the exact understanding I use to discriminate between which reports, statistics, studies, and theories are either legit, or a promotion. It is literally the distinction between rationalization and empiricism in regards to science. It is also the very foundation of why I have learned to love and trust natural therapies such as homeopathy.
I recently read an article about a certain class of drugs commonly used. These drugs have been found to have a very significant increase in the cause of dementia. They also hold a wide range of action from simple over the counter antihistamines (such as Benadryl), sleep-aids, tricyclic antidepressants, and drugs used even for overactive bladder. Many people use these drugs commonly to manage their symptoms. Quite a few are available without prescription, OTC. Their damage is related to the cumulative total exposure of the drugs over time. The study found the cognitive and reactivity changes caused by these class of drugs irreversible even after years of discontinuation of the drugs.
This discovery is shocking and is completely opposite of what was believed for all the years these drugs have been in use.
I read the original version on WebMD but you need an account and to log in. Here is a lighter version more accessible to you ”Widely Used Drugs Tied to Greater Dementia Risk for Seniors.”
The information in the article is profoundly worrying just in itself, but not what grabbed my attention as dramatically as one of the disclaimers in the article. The disclaimer became my key focus and threw up an incredible red flag for me. This disclaimer is a great example of where science disappears from our medicine.
You know, I look at things very differently than a person who is not trained at viewing medical or scientific articles, so I ask you to bare with me. I search for empirical facts only and root-out the rest.
Just to be clear the version of the article was re-edited recently to say the study could not prove cause and effect. However, the original version said the study was based on empirical data and therefore was inconclusive and could not prove cause and effect. Here’s the scary part to me, and what threw up the red flag.
How would you prove cause and effect if not based on the empirical data?
A good study is constructed to be solely based on empirical data.
What kind of data would be recognized for absolutely proving the cause and effect?
Here we begin:
In reality there is only two types of data. On the one hand, you have empirical data which is just what is observed without a story. On the other, you have data which is rationalized which means tells a story of why the empirical data is observed, or should be observed. One is actual data the other is a story, theory, model, or hypothesis and these change like the wind.
Again the question becomes, how do you prove cause and effect if it is not the empirical data which determines this?
In reality it’s not possible, but in practice it is done by rationalization.
What is rationalization? Someone has to make up a story which explains it and we all learn to agree upon it. Currently, I’m sorry to say, this is a great majority of what is considered to be the heart of medical science.
As an example:
Have you ever wondered who makes up the stories of why drugs work on TV?
How about this one, “Depression is a chemical imbalance.”
Really? Who made that statement conclusive? I don’t remember those studies or the exact empirical data which proves it. I have more than a few questions before swallowing it which need to be answered by someone. Such as; what causes the chemical imbalance in the first place? Quite simply wouldn’t what causes the chemical imbalance be the real originating cause? Is one person’s chemical imbalance exactly the same as another’s? Who exactly studied every human being in the world to prove this, or at least the majority to even hypothesize it? If they did, what parameters did they use to find these results? I don’t remember any of these being discussed with any of us before the commercials proclaimed it as true. So, the answer is (no one).
Really, (no one) did all the foot work to answer all these questions. It’s not possible. However, someone, created a really good story and sold a lot of medications, and some of these medications may make a difference, but it’s not because they handle an inherent chemical imbalance. That is a sales pitch (story).
These next three paragraphs are not as important as the distinction between empiricism and rationalism, but they do help to discern how we are sold a medical product.
If there is no mechanism of action (story) for why a drug works then a company has no way to sell it. This may be hard to believe, but it is as simple as that. Pharmaceutical companies first sell the concept of why the drug works (story) and tout it as the most important and new discovery while rallying experts to believe and further enhance the story and sell it to doctors. Afterwards it is sold to the public with a little less technical description to make you feel like there is more to the story through the media, and they neatly let you know only your doctor and advance science can really understand all of it. (Mystique and expert classification is very important for the overall sales technique to be effective) Selling the public through media also puts pressure on your doctors to learn and utilize the new products. As an aside, if I suffered from depression I would wish to believe them as well. It is all consuming and miserable to be depressed.
Add FEAR of harm into this sales technique and pretty much it is a done deal.
In my opinion we cannot blame anyone for these practices even the drug companies. People only feel safe when they have a why (answer) when suffering. Name it and it feels known and there is something specific to do about it. If it has no name it is torture and we don’t know why or how it got there or what to do about it. We are just scared and vulnerable to endless suffering. It is a natural process to search for why.
However, I wish to assert rationalization and the need for why, limits our intelligence, prevents a profound understanding of the world, and actually prevents our therapies from being based on empirical science. Answering why can actually prevent us from finding a real solution and quite often is dangerous for our health and well-being.
Also, I most wish to assert that answering, “Why?” which we desperately crave to do is the exact pitfall which profoundly removes any potential for science at all.
To be continued…