Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Pick a breakfast. Option one: two slices of toast, lightly buttered, a slice of lean cold meat (veal, beef, turkey, ham, cat, dog...any meat low in fat), 200ml Orange Juice. Option two: Two hardboiled eggs, a small bowl of oat porridge, 200ml Coke.

Option one sounds healthy, but it really isnt. It will give you a sugar rush and you will be hungry in two hours. Orange Juice contains as much sugar as Coke! Option two is a smarter option. Eggs and oat porridge give you a great sense of satiety. 150 cal worth of oats and 180 cal worth of eggs will keep you full for hours. Coke gives you the same sugar rush as Orange Juice, so it's not as bad as what people say (of course, OJ has more nutrition in it).

The human being is a perfect creation...em... well, not exactly. One of the interesting things about studying medicine is that you get to know (figuratively) all the things that can go wrong with the human being. It's a science - and like all things human... isn't perfect. Paradigms change with time. What's considered unhealthy may one day be considered healthy. So called "research" is often affected by what is known as "confounding" factors. For example, wine companies used statistical data to claim that wine prevents cardiovascular disease. Yet the data was misleading. It is now know that the "regular wine drinkers" in the statistical surveys were less likely to overindulge in fatty foods and fast foods as they were more likely to be affluent (rich) and health conscious. The lifestyle of wine drinkers was a confounding factor to the study. Im not saying it's wrong to believe statistics, but one has to be wary.

Occasionally, it's impossible to get proof without the use of statistics. Modern medicine is pretty advanced and many biological mechanisms are now studied and targeted by drugs. However, many drugs are also based on statistical evidence without any sound theory of cause and effect behind them. Asprin has been prescribed since antiquity yet until now, nobody really knows how it works. It just does.



  1. I think aspirin works by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. Without COX, inflammation and pain will be reduced because less prostaglandin is produced.

    As for "many drugs are also based on statistical evidence without any sound theory of cause and effect behind them", i believe that most drugs do in fact have sound theories of cause and effect. But like any other theories, they are merely theories and so some drugs may not conform to the anticipated theories in practical use. This is when statistical evidence comes in because any prescription drugs need to have a clinically substantial statistical evidence before they go on market no matter how believable their theories are.