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
A few years ago, I developed a site locating on a map all contaminated sites in Montreal, Canada. This was done in an open data hackathon, with a team made of open data specialists as well as McGill University professors specialized in urban development.
I was surprised to discover that data is available for all, at municipal, provincial and federal level. I was also surprised to see that in what appears to be a highly livable Canadian city like Montreal, there were old contaminated sites everywhere. I checked a few addresses. One for example showed on Google Street View a nice colorful kids’ playground, but in fact used to be a contaminated gas station. So we have infants, kids and parents playing on top of chemicals, because the city decided the location wasn’t fit for construction. Nice!
On the southern parts of the city named Griffintown, developers were building luxury condominiums where used to be industrial plants, with Bisphenol A (BPA) and PorpolyChlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) contamination. These chemicals are highly toxic and remain in the environment for a long time, impacting the cardiovascular system, neuronal, cognition and also increases cancer risk.
And this is not limited to Montreal. You can go on Vox’s excellent lead exposure risk map, and discover that many cities like New York City or Philadelphia are blanketed with lead poisoning. This is an acute issue for children. Children that are lead poisoned are at risk of decreased IQ, delayed language acquisition, partial illiteracy, behavioral issues, organ failure, and even death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that there is no amount of lead exposure that is considered safe for children.
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.
The previous post laid out the history of stress, explained how stress imposes a reaction, and the difference between good stress and bad stress.
In all activities, there is always a ceiling. It can be genetical and limit maximum strength, speed, coordination in physical performance. It can be environmental or geographical. Where we live and study determines for example the quality and scope of work. It can be a time ceiling, giving us limited time to accomplish required tasks.
This maximum can be attainable after a long and hard journey and is illustrated by the red line in the graph below.
The term stress was borrowed from physics by the first stress researcher Hans Selye. In physics, stress describes the force that produces strain on a physical body (i.e.: bending a piece of metal until it snaps occurs because of the force, or stress, exerted on it).
Hans Selye noticed that all his patients, regardless of disease, all looked under duress. He decided to name “stress”.