Number to Treat

#weekendcoffeeshare

Source: misterimmortal.com

Source: misterimmortal.com

It’s been a while since we had coffee together. I would like to share with you something surprising about the effectiveness of prescription drugs discussed in the four-minute video below.

It has to do with the total number of prescriptions that must be given out for a particular drug in order to find one patient for whom the drug actually works. Said another way, it is the proportion of patients treated with a drug that will experience its benefits.

Here, let’s watch the video

Why is this important? When a physician prescribes a drug, many patients assume that it is necessary to mange their condition and that it will have positive effects since the drug was ostensibly designed to treat their particular ailment. Therefore, they believe that they must follow doctor’s orders and keep taking the drug even though it may not actually be having beneficial effects for them.

What should patients do? When a drug is prescribed, ask your doctor what percentage of patients treated with the drug benefit from it. Ask what you should be looking for to know that the drug is effective in treating your condition. Discuss side effects and any risks if you stop taking the drug because it does not work for you.

There is so much we don’t know about health issues and the myriad angles used by pharmaceutical companies to boost sales. I hope the video was valuable to you. Hope to see you again soon!

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An Interesting Take on the Existence of God

The following is an article from livingwithconfidence.net. As a scientist, I find Dan’s view on issues surrounding the existence of God very interesting.

January 2, 2017

I Call B.S. On Atheism

By Dan Pedersen
(Reblogged here)

I have a theory that there are no true atheists. That everyone, somewhere deep inside, believes that God exists. Somewhere in all of us is a flame of hope — hoping that this life is not the whole story. That when we die we will continue to exist as something more than just atoms and a memory in the minds of those we leave behind.

There’s nothing to be lost by acknowledging to ourselves that we know very little about the nature of reality. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept the possibility God exists in some way — in a way that’s hard for us to comprehend. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe the order and intelligence of this universe are no accident. The chances of it being an accident are so low that no one would take that bet if there were consequences for being wrong. If you had to bet your life’s savings on it you wouldn’t.

As Robert Lanza has said:

“The laws of physics seem to be exactly balanced for life to exist. For example, if the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, the cosmos would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and stars to have developed. There are over 200 physical parameters like this that could have any value but happen to be exactly right for us to be here. These fundamental constants of the universe aren’t predicted by any theory — all seem to be carefully chosen to allow for the existence of life and consciousness.”

The Big Bang Theory may very well be true (though even this is shrouded in doubt: one example here), but what happened before the Big Bang? Where did the matter come from that caused the Big Bang? How was there once nothing and then there was something? It’s about as easy to comprehend as being attracted to a frog. As neuroscientist David Eagleman has said “there are thoughts you cannot think”.

Everything is a miracle. The mere fact that we’re here, in all our complexity, is a miracle. If it’s all by chance why does chance exist in the first place? Why does Natural Selection exist? Where did that intelligence come from? Why should there be any natural “laws” at all? Why aren’t they random and subject to constant change?

As Einstein once said (about quantum mechanics), “God does not play dice with the universe.” Einstein may have meant that metaphorically, but if God doesn’t exist why doesn’t nature play dice?