by Mila McManus, MD
We can search for anything on the world wide web these days. We can access thousands of people on Facebook and blogs who have an opinion. Information is abundant. The question is, are you gullible enough to believe it is all true? Do you consider the source? Do you question its accuracy?
Our patients often learn of supplements, energy and health products, therapies, and other modalities for health and healing from a favorite blog spot, a friend, or just from an internet search. Moreover, it’s common for people to believe that phrases such as “research suggests” or “this study suggests” mean the information presented must be true.
Reasonable science must take into account several factors and questions. Unless you are part of the lab carrying out the experiment and have direct access to the primary data, everything you believe scientifically is based on someone else’s testimony or authority. In other words, you’re trusting that someone else did the work correctly and honestly and presented it as hard-enough science. Hard science comes about by repeatability; if many other scientists, paid by different and neutral funding sources, can repeat the research with the same result, then the science firms up to be more trustworthy. Think of all the claims that are made that we just believe because a scientist or manufacturer said it. Sadly, it is extremely common for research to be funded by an organization which already knows the result it wants, and that is the result the scientist will generate in the final report. If the research had an unexpected bad outcome, it’ll be swept under the rug, and new research will be done until the wanted answer is found. Many manufacturers use popular and trending words to convince you of their promise when no research has been done at all! Both of these points have certainly been proven true!
We must ask good questions and seek more information than one scientist or study offers. We cannot believe everything we read and see. It is also critically important to know funding sources as well as the interests of the scientists themselves. We need to look for hard science that has proven itself true through repeatability, diverse funding, tried and true evaluation, and some degree of historical experience. Also noteworthy is that funding is hard to come by when what’s being studied cannot be trademarked, patented, or protected. Anything that occurs in nature cannot be patented. This means that vitamins and naturally occurring components of plants, e.g., don’t draw much funding. We must, therefore, somewhat rely on our own experiences and the historical experiences of many others, or hopeful funding by consumer interest groups or organizations whose aim it is to protect us from large corporate shams. (e.g., EWG.org, cleanlabelproject.org).
At The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness, we work hard to ensure that our procedures, therapies, supplements, and food recommendations are proven, tried and true solutions. We come to the table with deep experience with these understandings and ask questions, research carefully, sift through the data, and work hard to carry out responsible science for you. We also know that every individual is unique, and what is effective for one individual may be ineffective for another.
You should feel confident that our medical team with over 70+ combined years of medical experience can protect you from an inadequate study or google search conclusion. We hope you will yield to that knowledge and trust it – far more than blogs, social media, or google searches.