Three’s Company, Ten’s a Crowd
Under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them. —James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds
More Undoctored Wisdom:
Let’s take that further: “Groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them” . . . including doctors.
Mass panic, stampedes, shoppers trampled on Black Friday—crowds in a panic or seized by anger or greed can be frightening. But what about crowds quietly contemplating a question, each individual applying his or her unique insight and experience? Can we obtain answers by harnessing the collective wisdom of crowds?
It’s not an entirely new concept. A rudimentary form of crowd wisdom is already part of the legal system that assembles courtroom juries of a dozen peers. We also see crowd wisdom playing out in online sites that, for instance, allow crowds of people to rate hotels, restaurants, or movies.
Would you bother seeing a movie rated 7 percent by Rotten Tomatoes? Collect diverse insights and experiences of groups of people, all weighing in on the same question (putting aside polarizing social issues such as those in politics), and something wonderful happens: We obtain answers that, in many cases, exceed the accuracy of answers provided by individual experts—the wisdom of crowds, or collective intelligence. While the accuracy of answers improves with groups as small as three participants, groups of 10 dramatically improve accuracy, with additional improvements as crowds grow to the hundreds or thousands. The more the crowd allows each participant to express views, the greater the accuracy. And accuracy is also largely independent of the individual intelligence of the participants; smarter groups do not always provide smarter answers.
Mr. Surowiecki recounts the story of the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition of 1906 in which a contest to guess the weight of an ox was conducted. This was observed with interest by famous British scientist Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton gathered the 800 written votes cast, expecting to demonstrate how terribly inaccurate the guesses were. While few participants individually guessed anywhere near the correct weight, when he averaged all the guesses, to his great surprise, he found that the group as a whole guessed that the ox weighed 1,197 pounds, a pound off from the real weight of 1,198 pounds. A mix of people, some uninformed and unsophisticated, collectively guessed darned close to the to the exact right answer, more accurate than guesses offered by ox experts.
Do we really always need experts to answer our questions for us? In the case of health care, what if the “experts” are often not really experts anyway but dispensers of outdated ideas, limited by individual abilities, reliant on flawed information sources, swayed by conflicting interests?
The online program PatientsLikeMe is a pioneer in health tracking and health empowerment. The first clinical effort to explore whether lithium carbonate was effective for treating Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS ), as limited preliminary evidence suggested, did not come from a deep-pocketed drug company. It came from 150 people with ALS who collaborated through the PatientsLikeMe online site, took the recommended dose of the drug, and then tracked their experiences using an ALS symptom rating scale. They demonstrated that the drug did not have any effect on the progression of ALS symptoms, a finding later corroborated by four conventional clinical trials—formal scientific methods proved the crowdsourced answer correct.
Imagine what we might achieve as we expand and apply such crowd-powered efforts to other questions in health, all facilitated in unprecedented ways by new information tools.
Can we discover answers to individual health questions through group interaction?
Can we derive answers that exceed the quality of answers provided by experts?
I believe the answer to these questions is yes, and it returns control over many aspects of health back into individual hands and frees us from the limited wisdom of the sole practitioner. I continue this discussion in Undoctored the book and Undoctored Inner Circle.
ALS is caused by the destructive action of reactive oxygen species (ROS’s, or simply bleaches) on the lateral nerve connections to the spinal nerve column. Normally these junctions are protected by the anti-oxidant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). When SOD1 or any of its constituents fail to form properly SOD1 loses its protective ability, and ALS can ensue.
How does SOD1 mal-form?
SOD1 is a revised molecule of superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is a product of complete cellular metabolism. It is a product of the Krebs energy cycle. If the Krebs cycle operates incorrectly then proper SOD production is curtailed.
This is very important in all health issues from grey hair to cataracts. The human body’s go-to antoxidant, singularly, is SOD. It destroys bleaches at their sources, in cells.
What causes bleaches in cells?
Ironically bleaches and mal-formed SOD are both results of ingesting carbohydrate sugars and their associated proteins. A diet which replaces carbohydrates with fat and meat protein has little-to-no need for supplemental antioxidants, because of SOD.
i was told as a young women that i needed to get off all grains . my body did not work well whit it . i tried very hard to go off wheat and only eat none wheat food . but i was addicted and felt the bad effects off withdrawals i would look at the bread and feel i had to eat it . i could not see a loaf off bread with out feeling i need to eat that and i am missing out if i dont . i just had to eat it. so when i went 30 years latter . to a natropath again that was on your diet herself and told me all about the wheat belly thing and how you can make great food using the method and recipes and that changed my life . i got the books and now i am a convert i no longer look at bread and have to eat it that addiction i had has gone finally . not only that but the food is so easy to make and recipes delisus as well . it makes it so easy to do and i am sick with fibromlyaga and have not much energy if i can do this so can every one . the recipes make it so easy . not only that i have found that my stoumch that was always bloted and gas . and bad feelings when i ate now i dont have that at all my tummy is setteled for the first time ever in my life . i know i will never go back to the unhealthy bread now i have my recipes to make it easy . so thanks doctor from australia
The links to Undoctored and Undoctored Inner Circle at the bottom both take me to Infusionsoft (email marketing) and prompt a login.
As much as I love this program and have had my life changed by it, folks might be surprised to learn I don’t have a membership in the Undoctored Inner Circle. I’m not fond of paying subscription fees for web content, when I can benefit from that same type of group interaction elsewhere for free. Even my high regard for Dr. Davis doesn’t change that. I obviously don’t think he should work for free, but I buy the books and I think a free forum would sell more of those.
Kali wrote: «The links to Undoctored and Undoctored Inner Circle at the bottom both take me to…»
Reported. Thanks for the heads up. It’s already been fixed on the Undoctored Blog, and probably will be fixed here shortly.
re: «…but I buy the books and I think a free forum would sell more of those.»
Thanks for the feedback. It does not go unnoticed. The blogs are free, and unlike at lot of nutrition and health blogs that have lately fallen partially or completely behind pay-walls, the WB and Undoctored blogs seem likely to remain free.
Books are great, just about until the ink dries. As a species, we are not completely on top of optimized health. We may finally be approaching the end of disastrously failed diet dogma. Some of the medical dogma, however, is still actively making people needlessly sick and prematurely dead. Other matters are moving more rapidly.
Developments in microbiome, and protocols for a variety of previously untreatable ailments, for example, are arising at a fierce rate. It’s much more effective to engage on that, condense and communicate it, on a flexible, responsive, growing website — new developments in SIBO, for example. There’s a lot of overhead for that, vs. a sole author working at a word processor (and that’s before we even get to the matter of attention to personal issues). Not clear that book sales alone can subsidize it.
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I figure I earn my keep around here with my testimonials and glowing praise of Dr. D and the program. I wish I wasn’t too chicken to show my before photo (only one exists) so people could see how dramatic the transformation has been. I look like two different people, and I was literally more than twice the size I am now. At 53 most people think I look closer to 40, and I feel younger than that. I could barely move before Wheat Belly.
I have heard criticism to the effect that these doctors get greedy when they have something to sell, and worries that profit motives might reduce the value of their advice. I tell everyone that everything they need to know to follow the diet is available on the blog for free. In fact I think I lost 40 lbs myself before I ever bought the first book. Now I buy them not because I think I’ll learn something different from what I pick up on the blog over time, but specifically to support Dr. Ds good work.
I see a 100% Money Back Guarantee on the Undoctored Inner Circle sign-up page, and that’s great, but it would probably take a free trial period (with or without book purchase) to get me in there. The hope would be that I would like it enough to stay and pay. Currently the only site I pay for membership is ConsumerLab and that is well worth the money to me.
Kali wrote: «I figure I earn my keep around here with my testimonials and glowing praise of Dr. D and the program.»
We appreciate the blog visitors, regular or not, and regardless of whether also UIC members.
Insofar as a persistent free forum is concerned, not being an FB user, I neglected to mention that the Wheat Belly and Undoctored Facebook pages are also available (and that might be more than I know about that).
re: «I have heard criticism to the effect that these doctors get greedy when they have something to sell, and worries that profit motives might reduce the value of their advice.»
What’s the alternative? We’ve seen the results of 40+ years of lobbyist-bent government dietary advice. The bureaucrats may have no products to sell, but they are quite content with their cushy jobs, do not want their cheese moved, and definitely do not want any questions raised about their delivered dogma. Likewise, the national affliction associations and medical guilds have boards infested with industry moles, as well as prima donnas with reputations hanging on defective dogma. The affliction associations probably have negative motivation for their ailment to get a cure (or be found to not really need one). They are not prepared to be redundant.
So by all means study mission statements, and compare them to actual results.
re: «I see a 100% Money Back Guarantee on the Undoctored Inner Circle sign-up page, and that’s great,…»
Based on my communications with the Member Advocate there, people do take advantage of that if they feel the need.
re: «…but it would probably take a free trial period (with or without book purchase) to get me in there.»
Noted. Another tier of membership is currently being explored. A fair amount of the site content is open-access, including all of my articles (that aren’t specific to forum details).
re: «Currently the only site I pay for membership is ConsumerLab and that is well worth the money to me.»
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I only brought up the criticism because I have seen it directed toward Dr. Davis. My point was that although I was complaining about the UIC subscription fee (really just wanting my opinion heard so thanks for listening!), I don’t agree with the criticism in his case because of the large amount of information he does share for free.
I have defended him to others in this regard. I had a conversation once with someone who was cranky about not being able to get an appointment with Dr. Davis directly. She thought that meant he let the fame go to his head. Struck me as an unreasonable complaint because he is helping more people writing books and on his websites than he could ever hope to reach in a medical practice. His success is well deserved.
Mercola bugs me though, with his over-priced supplements and merchandise, but even that doesn’t make me disregard everything he says. The information has to be judged independently of the fact that even celebrity doctors can’t be expected to work for nothing, and their businesses have to support themselves.
Have a good weekend, Bob. You are one of the best features of Dr. D’s Online Universe, and no one disagrees about that!
Kali wrote: «I had a conversation once with someone who was cranky about not being able to get an appointment with Dr. Davis directly.»
As far as I know, he hasn’t taken on any new patients for years. I know his clinic closed years ago.
re: «She thought that meant he let the fame go to his head.»
It’s more a case of putting himself out of business as an interventional cardiologist. His client base simply stopped having “events”. There’s no point in running a clinic when all your patients actually need is a guidebook and a cookbook — and not a stent or CABG (or even a statin prescription in the vast majority of cases).
re: «…he is helping more people writing books and on his websites than he could ever hope to reach in a medical practice.»
That’s my view of it. Once you have a solution for 98% of people with CVD, and it turns out to be the solution for everyone — most chronic, non-injury, non-communicable conditions (80% of healthcare costs today), do you focus on the remaining 2% of uncommon lipidemias, helping people one at a time, or helping millions at a time to avoid, slow, arrest and reverse pandemic optional ailments?
re: «…bugs me though, with his over-priced supplements and merchandise, but even that doesn’t make me disregard everything he says.»
It’s a conundrum. Just as with food-like-substances, 98% of the supplements on the market need to be avoided — useless compounds, if not frankly adverse compounds, adverse fillers/binders, sub-clinical potency, etc. Anyone with a productive health message runs into the problem of what to do about that. Drs. Davis and Perlmutter used to sell supplements on their sites, but got out of that business. Because of the perceived conflict of interest, that was probably wise.
As you might imagine, there’s consequently a steady rate of brand/product discussion on both the Inner Circle and the Blogs, about what specific products to use (Dr. Davis presently recommends Joe’s probiotic, by the way). In some friendlier future, personalized custom-formulated supplements might be ideal, but attempts so far have been market failures.
re: «You are one of the best features of Dr. D’s Online Universe, and no one disagrees about that!»
Thanks. And thanks for your participation too.
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