It’s extraordinary what you can find on the Internet: weight-loss pills, miraculous teas, physical performance supplements, or anti-aging pills.
You don’t even have to go deep. A quick search on Amazon will show hundreds of products, many with good reviews.
When someone has bad health, it’s very tempting to get one of these and believe you will get rid of symptoms quick. The reality is that the supplements industry is not regulated by governments. Anyone can call themselves a supplement designer, mix baking powder with pesticides (USA Today article), fool people with marketing tricks, and totally get away with it. There are simply no rules and it’s not far from snake oil salesmen in the 19th century.
Did you know your iPhone knows exactly how many steps you take daily? And that it can list which locations you visit through the day? It also measures how many floors you climbed, your walking distance, and if you have installed health apps, it will also begin to collect heart rate data, blood pressure and even your health records.
The downside is that all of it is inside the Health app, which is as sexy and usable as a spreadsheet!
Last week was the first in two months I didn’t update the site daily.
I missed it because of a hard 23km run in freezing weather Friday and also because I invested a lot of time OutcomeReference. And it was definitively worth it!
OutcomeReference grew from a simple conversation to now a major application referencing 130 health studies and 320 health effects. Check it out
There were also major work done to improve how health effects were visualized.
For example, if you are a runner, and want to see how you can improve running performance, all factors are listed on this page. It is possible to sort factors on their efficacy or performance, or sort through factors.
Another way to use the site is if you are looking for information about a nutrient. For example, if you have questions about coffee, go on this page. It will show all digestive, performance effects and also showcase recent studies on caffeine.
While this is just the beginning, I’m quite satisfied with what the site offers so far. It makes OutcomeReference a perfect companion site for DailyHealthPoints and gives unique insights you can’t get from anywhere else on the Internet.
Here is the complete list of updates:
Added a logo
Added a Facebook page
Added site chat to get more info
Added Evidence (“Needs more research”, “Low evidence”, “High evidence”
Added publication study date, and showcases new studies
What is the ideal diet? What types of exercise should you do? What should you undertake to prevent mental disease? Those are common questions asked by millions of blogs and even more people every day, worldwide.
Unlike mathematics, there is no single answer. Delving into scientific studies such as those aggregated on pubmed help to separate the good from the bad. You type a keyword such as “diabetes” and it will show papers studying diabetes. However, this is not easy:
Health studies are published for scientists. Readability is low and challenging for those without relevant education
The vast majority of health studies are behind a “pay-wall”
There are different types of trial designs, from meta-analysis, double-blind randomized trials, cohort studies etc. Furthermore, the number of subjects vary wildly between studies, as well as age, weight range, athleticism of subjects, or study length. It takes a good eye to know which study has a better design and which ones are relevant to your case.
Studies on the same subject can use different metrics or biomarkers, making direct comparisons difficult
Studies on the same subject and with the same methodology can have conflicting results
Health studies, especially in nutrition, can be funded by corporations and have bias.
All these contribute to confusion. Media and bloggers then interpret findings to their likings, further increasing confusion.
In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.
It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.