Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Scientific Method Meets the Human Nervous System

We learn that when we do experiments, we must change only one variable at a time. If there are several variations happening, you don't know which one is responsible for the change in outcome.

That's why it's hard to experiment on people. Did the person feel different (or did the medicine or diet have an effect) because of the weather, because of personal or social or emotional issues, because of change in nutrition, because of activity level, because of exposure to germs, or what?

A person who is obviously celiac can't be expected to eat wheat for a couple of weeks to prove to the doctor what effect gluten has on his system.

A person who suspects she is having problems digesting milk can only know for certain if she adds milk back into her diet, and then abstains from milk, and then tries it again. This has to occur several times before she can be sure that the trouble arises from dairy products and not from other environmental factors.

Thing is, testing some of these things hurts. If I, oh, say, get new glasses and within hours begin to have pain in my eyes, how do I know whether the pain is a long-term problem or just the "growing pains" of adjusting? Back and forth, back and forth, testing whether the bifocals are actually causing problems, or if it's just circumstantial. Maybe the eye pain and the headaches are due to some other cause.

Today I am --with much trepidation-- wearing my bifocals again after the pain drove me to tears on Wednesday. After having experienced relief from returning to my old glasses three times, it's mighty hard to put the bifocals back on my face again, anticipating that my current hypothesis will prove correct. Thing is, even if the glasses aren't the cause of the pain, I'm afraid that my expectations may give me problems.


  1. That hard part about that might be that if you want bifocals, the pain is something you'd have to work through, too. :-/ I've known quite a few people who said that when they started on bifocals, they had debilitating headaches and even vomited. After sticking with it, though, eventually these things passed and their body adjusted.

    But, like you said about, that's something you'd have to experiment with by wearing them (through the pain) for a while, with no real knowledge of whether it'll pass or not.

    Sorry. :-/ I hope everything will be okay.

  2. I have not been able to get my courage up to try the krill oil again because I am so scared of another week of topsy-turvy tummy.

    Sorry to hear about the bifocal trouble!

  3. I've had the bifocals on for 12 hours today, and not a sign of trouble. Maybe it actually was something unrelated to the glasses?!?

  4. I went from bifocals to two sets of glasses and now back to bifocals(this was over `6 years with no trouble)However... i got the gradual lenses with no line between the lenses and the bifocal part. I was all but sick. I coulsn't drive, I couldn't read... Now it has been 6 months or so and eery thing is ok. I wish I had more reading "band width", but I can read with them finally