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Don't Believe All the Research Studies That Are Out There [E066]

We have many questions around research studies. Discover how to do your own research and get the facts you are looking for – without feeling manipulated. We often hear the question, “Was that researched… was that supplement researched…. what company researched that procedure…” With Dr. Jason’s undergrad including actualized science and biochemistry. He will be able to provide background information on what truly happens during a research study. Research is about taking a concept or thought and putting it to the test.

Table Of Contents

Introduction To Research Studies

Introduction To Research Studies
Photographer: Michael Longmire | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan Joseph: Today we’re going to have a conversation around a subject matter that actually Dr. Jason has more familiarity than I do. But I do see some of these things and through some of the conversations that both of us have had. He’s enlightened me more on the subject matter. I thought it was real important for us to just shed some light on this topic which is research studies.

We often hear that question come up, “Was that procedure researched?” “Is it valid if it wasn’t researched and with a stamp of approval by a certain organization?”

Those aren’t bad questions, but sometimes we don’t even realize what we’re asking. And that stamp of approval that we’re searching for sometimes can be a little bit tainted, misguided, misdirected.

What he got to see on the inside is what really takes place in a research study. Now, what makes up research studies? And What are some of the things that can result in a good research study or a bad research study? Some of the ulterior motives that sometimes show up in research. There are so many people that are asking questions about what is true data. They just want real answers specifically around the coronavirus and all the different illnesses. And as we’re looking for answers, I just thought that this was a relevant conversation for us to have.

The Power Of Manipulated Data

The Power Of Manipulated Data
Photographer: Mika Baumeister | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Jason Hamed: That’s all research really comes down to, is thinking critically. You can see something that no one else has ever seen before. Research itself… When I get passionate about it because at its core, research is about taking this wonderful concept. This thought that you may have about something in health or usually it’s health-related research and putting it to a test.

And that test is the research study. When you do that, you have to be okay with your theory is totally incorrect. And I think that in itself is beautiful. And it’s the highest form of truth in regards to seeking knowledge through application of science. It sounds like a mouthful, but where it gets tainted and where I get equally upset and pissed is when I see people that will manipulate data, they will manipulate the information-

Dr. Bryan Joseph: When you say sometimes things are manipulated on research studies, what do you mean by that?

Dr. Jason Hamed: Numbers. Data. When you’re looking to explore a certain concept or a certain theory, you have to measure something. Whatever you’re measuring, if you’re measuring X, then that’s what we’re going to say, this study either proves that this technique or this medication, or this supplement, or this type of therapy worked based on X. Well, the challenging thing is that it’s really easy to manipulate X to look differently to two different people.

Relative vs Absolute values

Dr. Jason Hamed: And what I mean by that is this, is something called relative versus absolute values. People that have done math before they’ll know what relative and absolute is. But here’s an example of relative versus absolute. If I told you, Brian, that this drug improved the results of people going through this disease by 50%, all of a sudden you’re like, “Whoa, Holy crap. This stuff works.”

But what if I told you that the people that took it went from two to four, that actually got improvement. If we look at relative, you’re like, “Whoa, it’s 50%. That’s huge.” But when you look at the absolute data and you say, “Wait a minute, only two people actually saw a difference in how they felt by taking this drug, whatever. This isn’t an anti-medicine bash, I use that as a reference.”

Dr. Bryan Joseph: Let’s take that down into today’s current environment, specifically around coronavirus. And you see on the news or the media sources on a daily basis. Right now, we see 754% increase in cases in XYZ territory. Think about that same thing that you’re saying, yeah, that’s a jump, that’s a big percentage. And if that’s the only piece of data that you saw, that could be intimidating. But what if in fact there was only four people in the whole state. You went from one person that had it to four people that have it in a state that’s got 5 million people. The percentage increase is gigantic, but the actual number of participants or people that have it is so small.

Other aspects of research studies

Dr. Jason Hamed: There are other aspects though of a study that most people don’t look at or understand, because again, most people aren’t trained in this stuff and I get it. So I’m not hating on any of our listeners that don’t know this stuff. That’s why we’re having this discussion so they can be aware of it. But research studies will look at different variables, at least a good one will. Very rarely do you only look at a variable, so you’re going to have multiple variables that you’re going to look at in order to test your theory or test or hypothesis. What I’m finding right now, and a thing that’s getting me agitated, and I’ve talked to friends and family, and even patients that are asking me questions about this is, right now research or data is being pulled out in our culture.

And the media outlets or whoever are only choosing to focus on either a relative number or percentage, as well as they’re only focusing on a variable. And here’s what I mean by that. You can’t impact one variable without another variable in this study being somewhat effected. For instance, right now we’re in the hotbed of COVID and there’s a lot more testing that are going up. I shared this with my brother actually a few weeks ago, and I said to him, I go, “Listen, One or two thing’s going to happen, just based on understanding, testing, and understanding data and looking at research studies.” I said, “This isn’t an opinion. This is just looking at raw data. One or two things is going to happen. They’re either going to have more testing available, which then in turn makes us more aware of more people actually have this.

The Biggest Travesty In Research Studies

The Biggest Travesty In Research
Photographer: Taras Chernus | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Jason Hamed: And therefore, if that happens, if you actually have more people that have it, then the people that passed away from it has to go down in number based on the mortality rate of people that actually passed. Well, based on the numbers of people that have it, inherently the mortality rate of this infection goes down. That has to happen in regards to the sheer data. Or we find that more people don’t have it.” This was before the testing became as prevalent as it is. I told him, “Either we’re going to see that there’s more people who don’t have this thing, the mortality rate stays the same, we realize this thing isn’t spreading as fast as we initially thought, because when you look at data, you have to look at multiple variables and not just a variable.”

Dr. Bryan Joseph: But then with that said, correct me if I’m wrong, the researcher or the media in either circumstance gets to choose what to zero in spotlight. So if you’re talking about, okay, in research studies, we want to zero in on and show and spotlight the mortality rate, then you get to do that. But if that data doesn’t support your initiative, then we may choose to spotlight a different variable or number in that research.

Dr. Jason Hamed: So openly that’s the biggest travesty in research studies. And again, as someone who loves science and the pursuit of real knowledge through research, that’s my biggest… My heart breaks every time I see that, because if you’re really going to go and test something, then you have to be open to testing all the variables, like I said, and even that your theory is wrong.

Agendas interfering with research

Dr. Jason Hamed: Openly I’ve seen this happen. I’ve seen it. This isn’t me waxing and waning from a ivory tower. I’ve been the kid presenting research at a symposium and there was people in the audience who had a different agenda than what we wanted to promote or what we were finding in our research. And I was 21 years old and these guys were hazing me and we’re talking professors, PhDs, just coming down on us.

I was like, “Whoa, that was brutal.” And I went back and I talked to my research advisor and he was so upset at the time because he knew that there was different agendas, that they didn’t like some of his old research, they were taking it out on me and my colleague because we were facilitating his research. I know of people that have worked for large companies that are pharmaceutical companies, that lily their job has bench researchers. And I know these people’s research showed that the data didn’t support what the hope of this drug was supposed to be doing, and their data was not released, but yet they had a colleague who manipulated the data that did show that the drug worked and the one that got released, and that person got promoted.

The reality of it is this, as a consumer of information out there, you really have no idea and it’s not your fault. Before we get on the mic, we were just chatting about a couple of concepts. And it’s hard to find an unbiased research organization.

The Reality Of Bank-rolled Research In The Scientific Community

The Reality Of Bank-rolled Research In The Scientific Community
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Jason Hamed: Some of these institutions are being funded by certain organizations. So if you knew you were being funded by XYZ company, and you had research studies that was done by ABC company, which is directly the antithesis, the opposite of what the XYZ company, your bank roll believes in and funds, you’re probably not going to publish the research from the ABC research group.

Unfortunately, that’s the reality. I’ve seen in research, in the scientific community. I had a patient just recently say, “Hey doc, can you help me find some research on contact sports for use and the safety of it?” I said, “Yeah.” So I went and spent a weekend looking for it, and I had to come back to him, I said, “You know what? There’s not much,” because right now, and no disrespect because I know that there is a hundred percent, a lot of heads that we’re getting discussed discoveries of right now, the long saying nature of concussion like activities from football and all that. But as a dad right now of a 12 year old who does play football, I’m doing everything I can to find the research to support the safety of it.

And right now the research is not a ton out there. In fact, every research wants to come right back to say that kids shouldn’t be doing anything of the nature. And I find it interesting that here I am spending a whole weekend and I can’t find more than one or two articles that demonstrate the efficacy or safety measures that have now been in place. There’s always a bent. There’s always a position, unfortunately within research, I shouldn’t say always, more times than not there is a bent.

Always Cross-Reference

Dr. Bryan Joseph: I would not hang my hat on one piece of research articles or one piece of information ever. It would be great to always cross reference different data points and not getting emotionally energized from seeing one piece of data that actually might be inaccurate. I hate to say it that way, but off the record, let’s do a little homework and see if we can’t find, as it relates to the health spectrum, a research Institute that may be unbiased that we could potentially then put a link to this website, to this podcast episode. It’s going to be at thewellnessconnection.com/E66.

We will look around. I know there are some schools, some colleges, some organizations off the top of my head, I can’t think of them though. We have to find it.and we’ll try to find a really integrity based research solution that we could point you guys to.

Closing Thoughts on Research Studies

Dr. Bryan Joseph: With that said… J, is there anything else that you want to wrap up the segment with on that topic of research? I just wanted to bring it to people’s attention that the research that they may be seeing or getting exposed to doesn’t always mean that it’s the truth.

Dr. Jason Hamed: Folks, listen, no different than the whole buyer beware caveat or the little saying that whenever you get involved with something, read the fine print. Research is the exact same way. So please, please don’t get so emotionally charged about some new study, some new data and change your entire life and reorganize your entire philosophy of how you should act based on that because there’s a lot of variables that the majority of you out there are just not aware of, and it’s not your fault, that are going on within that data, within that research, within that agenda, within that organization. So trust your gut. Give yourself more credit to follow your own instincts and your own gut versus just solely putting all your eggs in that research basket.

Dr. Bryan Joseph: All right. As always, hopefully you found some value in this. If you did share it with somebody, pass the message, keep the mission going, and we’re here to help you get well and stay well. As long as you are willing to play the game, we will continue to feed you information. Take care.

Visit us at thewellnessconnection.com/podcast to subscribe to our show and get connected.

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