In medicine we are always looking for evidence to support our clinical decision making. There are always clinical trials and various tests being published about which medication or procedure is best.
These are debated endlessly and actually many of them are repeated numerous times before they are put in to everyday practice.
When I was doing my family practice residency we had what we called a “journal club.” This involved getting together once a week or so and going over an article that had been published relating to medical practice. We would discuss journal articles regarding such topics as the best ways to prevent a second heart attack or the best in hospital treatments for emphysema.
Our government funds thousands of trials and there are thousands more funded by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. These tests can be time consuming and very, very expensive. They typically recruit thousands of individuals and require months of testing and data gathering. But they can be the crucial difference in whether a drug, procedure or product ever gets used.
But what does this mean for all of us individually? I’m a physician and I have to admit that I have difficulty deciphering all of this data and making it meaningful. Like I said, the experts debate these studies ad nauseam and I think that at times even they have trouble getting to the bottom of things.
To make things more meaningful to you I’d like to suggest that you go around all of this and start running your own studies. As the saying goes, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately I don’t think that you’ll be able to apply for funding from the NIH . I do think though that your own personal studies will prove more interesting and much more helpful for you than all of the NIH funded studies combined.
If you really wanted to go for it you could have even have your own personal journal club. You could sit down after your study and write down what you learned. You could also journal about your experiences along the way.
Here’s some suggestions on how to start running your own scientific studies:
1. First sit down and do a rating of how you think you are doing or how you’re feeling. This can be as simple as just rating your energy level or happiness on a scale of 1 to 10.
2. Pick a health or wellness action item that you want to work on. Say for example eating a healthy breakfast every day or going for a walk 3 or 4 days in a given week.
3. Pick a time frame for your study–say 7 to 14 days or so.
4. Make your health change for your specified time period and when you’re done rate how you feel on the same scale as when you started.
5. “Publish” your results in your personal journal for future reference.