Originally aired as Facebook Live on 11/13/2020.
Today is Friday the 13th & World Kindness Day and we are talking the balance about science and wellness. Earlier in the day I was able to critique medical students on their summer research projects and help them learn how to have a critical eye when it comes to reviewing and pursuing their own research.
Today also had me thinking about this in relationship to the placebo effect and the nocebo effect (the opposite). The gold standard of research is a double blind placebo controlled study. Depending on the type of study or intervention- up to 50% of patients receiving the sugar pill will demonstrate some improvement. I like to think about it in the context of the healing relationship between the care provider and the patient. The nocebo effect is the idea that people may expect more pain or have a worse outcome in certain circumstances. The book Suggestible You takes a deep dive into these concepts. Fascinating stuff!!
How do I approach a possible diagnostic test or treatment that does not have a lot of evidence (science) to back its use? I think about the possible risks vs benefits.
Testing- typically very expensive and may end up resulting in additional tests and worry. In the case of unnecessary food sensitivity testing it commonly results in more restrictive eating- eliminating many anti-inflammatory and nutritious (healing) foods. I avoid it.
Vitamins, supplement, probiotics- I look up ingredients and run things by my team of doctors and my dietician. Did you know that supplements/vitamins do NOT require any FDA oversight? Same with cosmetics and personal care products!! It is a buyer beware situation because no one is ensuring what is on the package is truly what is in the bottle. I keep things pretty limited and try to research the companies I purchase from.
Body based treatments such as massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care have a more favorable risk benefit ratio- biggest risk- cost!
Funny story- all this talk about science but I posted about medical superstitions last night. One think you learn in medical training- don't say the Q word (opposite of loud) while on call. Well, I typed it out and ended up getting paged by the answering service for the first time in YEARS. Coincidence? I guess- but goodness it sure seemed uncanny!!