*Warning: re-affirming that the disclaimer applies to this section*

What is the point of this section?

If you’re set on researching drugs or medication, this section will help you do it in a more accurate manner. Otherwise, please don’t go further than the websites listed below.

A lot of us are keen to research the drugs we’re on specifically. Most of the time this is out of skepticism that the government really looks out for our best interest. This website is of the opinion that a healthy skepticism is not illogical when it comes to taking a substance that will make its way into one’s brain. But a few warnings are in order.

In general, there are a few websites that (in all honesty) tell one what they should know about a medication:

If you go further than this, understand that it may turn out to hamper your recovery more than help it.

Also, a lot of miscommunication can result from reading about experiments. Allow me to state an example:

Many of us have heard of kava. It has seven alkaloids in it, called kavalactones. Now one of these kavalactones, yangonin, was determined by a group of relatively obscure researchers from Italy and Hungary to act as a ligand at the CB1 receptor (the receptor that THC binds to, creating a high).

Suddenly we see on wikipedia and other non-professional sources that “kava works in the brain like weed”…But this is due to a horrible misunderstanding. Firstly, the study did not talk of efficacy, only affinity. That means, it gave of an idea of how potent yangonin is, but not of how it actually interacts with the CB1 receptor. It could just as well be an inverse agonist, acting counter to how THC acts (which is a partial agonist).

The lesson here:

  • If you’re going to research something, it’s important to be acquainted with the terminology used in the sources you consider significant

While math and logic coincide when things get complicated enough, statistics is part math, part logic, in almost every case. I found it particularly interesting because I could see how it would directly apply to my life and experience. We use it to…

  1. Find out why things act the way they do
  2. Make informed decisions
  3. Organize information

That said, statistics can be used to skew the truth. If someone wants support for their opinions or irrational beliefs, they could use statistics for it. For instance, super-rich corporations do all they can to lobby for the approval and patent rights of some new psychiatric drug. Very few well-constructed studies on the psychiatric benefits of plants have been published.

Image result for statistics

Statistics can be pretty basic, too.

  • Calculating a weekly paycheck for a line chef who works in a restaurant
    • 30 hours a week
    • $10.00 an hour after taxes are deducted.
      • Answer: $300.00 a week
      • Simple math that most of us can figure out in our head!

A hell of a lot of variables can go into statistics, too. This list is not exhaustive

  • Predicting how much money the owner of that restaurant will make on a given day
    • Number of people working
    • Pay rate of the people working
    • Satisfaction with the restaurant owner
      • Leads to better performance
      • Food is less often stolen
    • Day of the week
      • Weekends tend to be more busy
    • Holiday?
      • If so, less profit
    • Cost of appliances
    • What kind of food the workers will take home with them
    • How late the restaurant closes
      • How many, if any, people who arrive shortly before closing, and leave after scheduled closing time
    • The energy of the workers
      • More energy
        • Better hosting
        • Faster wait time between ordering and eating
        • Generally more friendly staff
    • The profit margin of the food purchased
    • And more…

Many of us have seen a graph similar to this one:

Related image

On to statistics subsections

A section is devoted to The Approval Process of Psychiatric Medicine because a lot of people don’t know nearly how much time, money, and energy, is put into testing compounds for legitimate use as a psychiatric medication. It’s true that (at least in the USA) we live in a society where corporations and government are sometimes almost inseparable. There’s no doubt that conflict-of-interest happens. But picking out one compound from up to ten thousand, and spending billions putting it through trials which can last over a decade, means something regardless.

The Meaning of Statistics Terms section introduces a lot of definitions.

All of the time, work, and money, that goes in to putting an effective psychiatric medication on the market, is staggering. Please see the Medication Approval Process section for elaboration.

Finding Good Sources involves seven criteria (conditions), three of which are all but necessary in order for a source to be of quality. This includes…

  1. Three necessary components for a well-done study
  2. A fourth experiment-specific necessary aspect
  3. Three traits that aren’t necessary, but which greatly add quality

Applying Principles Example walks through a research question, to a conclusion

  1. Descriptions of many study-specific designs
  2. What goes into all statistical studies
    1. Formulation
    2. Interpretation of numerical conclusions
  3. The many types of validity
  4. And more!

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Sources: http://bobhall.tamu.edu, Ben Komor, Dr. Laura Wray-Lake, Dr. Kevin Davis, Dr. Howard Feinstein, https://www.uncg.edu/mat/undergraduate/whatisstatistics.html, https://www.dol.gov/wb/