We live in a world that is obsessed with certainty, something that really doesn’t exist. Our world is actually based on probabilities or odds, levels of certainty something less than 100%.
These levels of certainty or odds are really very familiar to us. We might buy a raffle ticket from the little league kid next door but know the odds of winning are low. The odds can be increased in a raffle though, if we limit the number of tickets offered for sale.
INCREASING THE ODDS
Instead of a thousand tickets let’s reduce the number to 500. Have our odds increased? Absolutely! Let’s limit the number of tickets to 100. Our odds are now 1% or 1 out of 100 to win if we hold only one ticket. If you buy up 70 of the tickets our odds, or the certainty that we will win, would be 70% or 70 out of 100. Could we still lose? Absolutely!
Let’s apply the certainty concept to disease and medical treatment by studying a large, random population of our fellow citizens – 100,000 is a good round number. Since it is truly random, all ages, sexes, economic circumstances etc. are included in the study. By collecting medical data we can determine that out of that population a certain number will die of cancer. Does that number have any real meaning to you? Probably not!
FOCUSING OUR VIEWS
How about dividing up the population into age groups and then seeing how many die of cancer. We call these groups cohorts in med-speak. Now we can look for cancer by age and we’ll find that it becomes increasingly more probable the older we become – our odds go right up along with our age.
We can further divide our cohorts into smaller groups by adding any number of variables – females between 50 and 60 years of age for example. We can create any cohort we want by restricting the population to specific characteristics.
IMPROVING THE ODDS
By adding more variables to our age-based cohorts we can run the numbers and see if that increases or decreases our cancer risk. If a variable like obesity increases our odds of cancer then it is called a risk factor.
As we add more risk factors to our smaller group we will probably see the statistical odds of getting cancer increase. If we are older and have many of the variables implicated in cancer does that mean we will get the disease? The answer is “no” but we are pushing up the odds just like buying more tickets for the lottery – only this time it’s about losing rather than winning.
Let’s look at increasing our odds of getting well instead of sick since that is what the Bio-Windows™ AI System and 3-Risk™ analysis tool is all about.
Written by: Bill Schaser, Director of Education