Growing up I’ve always heard my father saying that knowledge is power. Girls around me liked being called pretty or beautiful while I would get really excited if somebody called me smart (along with pretty because let’s face it who doesn’t want to hear they’re pretty?)
Anyway, I have always had this opinion that smart girls are cool and that one day I wanted to be that kind of cool. So I started finding informative videos, books, articles basically anything I could find to expand my knowledge; You’d be surprised by what you can learn. And one of such sources is Ted talks.
So, going through Ted talks, I found this video by Daniel Levitin which was basically about how to program your brain to foresee problematic situations and preventing them. Something in psychological terms is referred to as a Premortem.
Talking about hard decisions he mentioned medical choices we have to make. He suggested that when you’re prescribed a medicine by the doctor, ask for the statistics like the number needed to treat, the NNT for the drug. He gave the example of a High cholesterol drug Statin. Now the NNT for this drug in 1 in 300. Which means 300 people have to take the Drug in order to help 1. This is confirmed by Bloomberg.com. So you have 1 in 300 chance. Also know the side effects occur in 5% of those 300 people. Which is 15 out of those 300. So you should know all this before making a decision to start taking the drug.
Next he mention the prostrate surgery in which the prostate is removed to prevent cancer. The NNT for this surgery is 49, 49 surgeries and 1 person is helped. Side effects occur in 50% of the people.
These are scary but accurate numbers. GlaxoSmithKline GSK is major British pharmaceutical company, which we identify as most used in our country. GSK estimates that 90% of the drugs only works on 30-50 people. Not something doctors inform you about. Because the pharmaceutical companies would stop making money if people found out.
To conclude, medicines might be causing more side effects and actually helping us. And here we take medicine for everything. A little headache or muscle ache and it doesn’t go away till we take that one pill. Making us completely dependant on drugs. Imagine what it’s making you’re body go through. The unknown side effects it causes.
How many times have we heard our grandparents telling us that there weren’t as many strange diseases back in the old times as there are now. Now we hear a new disease discovered everyday. We justify that by thinking that’s because the technology wasn’t advanced enough to detect them back then. But is this really true? Why is it the more advanced we become the more problems we seem to have. Just something to think about.
You can find this video on YouTube. Ted talks David Levitin.