If you haven’t noticed, our country is addicted to opinions. Opinions from, experts, journalists, doctors, and others, all telling us what is right and wrong, what works and does not work, and what causes this and that. You are given conflicting opinions and left to wonder who is right or wrong. You may even be given same opinion from numerous experts and wonder if there is a conspiracy going on. It is much easier to pick your favorite expert and trust everything they say. It is much harder to be skeptical and ask for and look at the evidence yourself!
Health is the most important part of our life. If you’ve ever been sick you will agree with that. Why do we continue to rely on expert opinions when it comes to our health and well being? Why don’t we demand evidence when a doctor on TV says that ‘this’ drug will prevent heart attacks? Or ‘this’ herb will help prevent cancer? Or when another expert says “Ebola is not transmitted in the air?” Or even when our own doctor gives their opinion about what test or treatment we should undergo?
There is a solution to the opinion epidemic: Evidence. It is the highest level of truth for any health care or public health question. Opinions will tell you what might happen. Evidence will tell you what actually did happen. It will tell you how many people who took that drug and had a heart attack and how many people who did not take that drug and had a heart attack. It will tell you what happened to people just like yourself. Don’t you want to know exactly how many people had a good or a bad outcome after taking a specific therapy? Don’t you want to know how they figured out the cause of a disease? Or how a viral disease like Ebola is transmitted?
If you think about it, we actually use evidence and numbers every day. We use evidence when buying a new or used car (i.e. Carfax) or when purchasing a new appliance (i.e. amazon reviews, consumer reports). We use evidence when gambling at horse tracks or when buying mutual funds on E-trade. We go far out of our way to research, read reviews, and learn about safety and quality for many of the things we buy everyday, but we fail to do this research when we are about to purchase or undergo any health care procedure. We have been brainwashed to not ask our doctors for the evidence behind their recommendations. We even let Dr. Oz make claims every day on TV without ever demanding that he show us the evidence.
From this point on, whenever you see or hear a claim about any health care topic or pubic health issue, your job is to say SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE! Especially when your doctor gives you a prescription. We hit the streets of Santa Monica to see what people on the street had to say about this concept: