UAF Sled Study

The Winner is Kuzmin!sledsliding5

Test parameters were combinations of heavy/light loading and slow/fast speed.

Note that by the time the UAF Engineering students had instrumentation and equipment ready the snow season was almost over so the trials were in temperatures near zero C and many other variables were not explored. I am surprised that HDPE was not comparable to UHMW, not as fast. I do expect HDPE to be best in extreme cold. I think most knowledgeable mushers use UHMW over cheaper HDPE in warmer conditions because of the much better wear/abrasion resistance in case of exposed dirt, rocks etc.

I think that boundary layer lubrication theory fits the limited relevant data best for all conditions. According to that, with a thicker film/boundary layer of water and adsorbed vapor, in warm temps the primary variable factor for most materials is corresponding surface tension/contact angle of a water droplet. Years ago I made a little hinged table with different plastics and measured not contact angle directly but angle at which a drop of water began to roll off. That would be static friction/drag vs. dynamic.

The prelimary report from UAF study below:

Authors Danny Eagan, Ian McKee    5/1/18

Test Parameters

Test Samples

1: Prairie Bilt, Fast Trax™ Proprietary Blend, yellow, shiny (1.75” wide)

2: Prairie Bilt, Fast Trax™ Proprietary Blend “White Lightning”, contains lubricating additives, white, shiny (1.75” wide)

3: Tim White HDPE

4: Tim White UHMWPE

5: Tim White, HDPE “XH”, white, very waxy (1.375” wide)

Weight: Approximate loaded weight based on 50 lb sandbags

  • Light: 150 lb
  • Heavy: 250 lb

Speed: approximate speed throughout duration of test (0.5 miles for Test 1, 200m for Test 2)

  • Slow: ~5 mph = 8.04 km/h
  • Fast: ~ 12.4 mph = 20 km/h (Test 1)
  • Fast: ~9.3 mph = 15 km/h (Test 2)

Test 1 (3/29/18): Runner Samples 3 and 4

Raw Data:

Table 1: Test results for runner sets 3 and 4

Runner Set 3: Tim White HDPE

Load Weight


Average Pulling Force (lb)













Runner Set 4: Tim White UHMWPE

Load Weight


Average Pulling Force (lb)













Figure 1: Raw data collected during testing of runner samples 3 and 4

Processed Data:

Figure 2: Preliminary results for all testing configurations of samples 3 and 4

Test 2 (4/213/18): Runner Samples 1, 2 and 5

Raw Data:

Table 2: Test results for runner samples 1, 2, and 5

Runner Set 1: Prairie Bilt, Fast Trax™ Proprietary Blend

Load Weight


Average Pulling Force (lb)













Runner Set 2: Prairie Bilt, Fast Trax™ Proprietary Blend “White Lightning”

Load Weight


Average Pulling Force (lb)













Runner Set 5: Tim White, HDPE “XH”

Load Weight


Average Pulling Force (lb)













Figure 3: Raw data collected during testing of runner samples 1, 2, and 5

Processed Data:


Figure 4: Preliminary results for all testing configurations of samples 1, 2, and 5

Combined Results (Both Tests)


Figure 5: Preliminary results for all testing configurations of all runner samples

Lubrication in sliding is also the subject of research in medicine. For example:

>It is becoming clear that, whether the gliding is cartilage on cartilage or tendon on tendon sheath, the basic biologic strategies are very similar. Specifically, the gliding surface in both cases contains a fixed lubricating glycoprotein, called lubricin,8,9 in addition to the high-molecular-weight glycoprotein, aggrecan, which tends to disperse the collagen fibrils and makes the surface structure more resistant to compression10,11 This type of lubrication, called boundary lubrication, is fundamentally different from the lubrication provided by an intervening fluid film, which is called hydrodynamic lubrication9,12-14 Indeed, it may be that the synovial fluid, comprised chiefly of hyaluronan, is more of a high viscosity nutrient delivery vehicle than a lubricant.


Who does not like Fireweed?
So many names for the same plant. No wonder I did not connect the info from various sources in the past.
Rosebay, Willowherb, Bombweed and many more. Epilobium is the former Genus/name, Chamerion the newer Genus.

Fireweed Russ

Ivan-Chai/Tea (

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) is an often-overlooked herb with amazing medicinal properties. Traditional First Nations usage and modern pharmacology as well as clinical studies suggest its beneficial effects in a number of health concerns. Fireweed has been known to possess anti-inflammatory effects in addition to the recent evidence on its therapeutic effects for both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prevention of prostate cancers.

This mini review provides some additional information obtained from First Nations healers, the empirical knowledge associated with clinical practice and aims to stimulate additional interest in the genus, and especially in the circumpolar species of Chamerion angustifolium.

The Cree call it Ihkapaskwa, and noted it
flowered when the moose were fattening and mating.
Other names include Askapask, Athkapask, and
Akapuskwah. The root was macerated and applied to
boils or infections. The leaves were plastered on
bruises. The raw roots were a popular native food
source. Even the summer stem was split open with the
thumbnail or between the teeth, to extract the inner
edible “pith”. It tastes a bit like cucumber but is very
sweet and can give a sugar buzz when needed. The
Kamtschadalis of eastern Russia boiled the plant with
fish and used the leaves as tea. The pith was scraped
out with shells, tied in bundles and sun-dried known
as Kipri, it was boiled into thick, sweet wort and used
to make Quaffe, a fermented drink of malted rye, flour
and wild mint. Six pounds of Kipri was mixed with
one pound of cow parsnip stalks and fermented for
The Woods Cree of Saskatchewan made a tea
of the whole plant for intestinal parasites. The root
can be crushed and applied to boils or abscesses, or to
draw out infection from open wounds.
The Ojibwa call it Zhoshkidjeebik or
Oja’cid’bik meaning slippery root, or soap root. They
would moisten and pound the root until it lathered up
and applied it as a poultice to bruises, boils, furuncles
and sores. An alternate name is Kegi’nano’kuk
meaning sharp pointed weed. The northern
Chipewyan call fireweed, Gon Dhi’ele meaning Fire
New Branch. Natives of Nunavut ate the tops of
Paunnait as summer food. The young stems are full of
sweet water and can be sucked out. Sophie Thomas, a
Sai’Kuz elder and herbalist, suggests drying the root
and then cooking it to treat asthma.   (

A Growing Problem

What is the secret to the luxuriant growth of nursery plants despite such small pot with minimal soil and root ball?

It seems in most cases that nitrogen is otherwise a limiting factor. But not just any nitrogen. Proteins and their decomposition products, peptides and amino acids. The fungi and bacteria that decompose have probiotic and prebiotic effects for plants the same was with human and animal diets.

Commercial nurseries often use fish emulsion but perhaps for reasons of convenience and availability.

>Plants can’t make use of large molecules such as oils and proteins; see Organic Fertilizer – What is it’s Real Value? for more details. When these molecules are added to soil, microbes digest them and turn them into small molecules like nitrate, and phosphate. It is only then that plants can make use of these molecules.

Since the large molecules need to be degraded before plants can use them, there is little difference – to the plant – between proteins and oils from fish, cows (manure), or even plants. I have found no support for the claim that fish fertilizer is better than any other organic fertilizer.

The main thing plants need from fertilizer is a source of nitrogen. Garden soils usually have enough P and K and the other minor nutrients. Nitrogen is the thing that is missing in soils. Given this fact, fish fertilizer is no better or worse than other types of fertilizer. (

A factoid worth investigating and testing among the comments section of the article: that adding lactic acid bacteria fermentation to the fish or othe stinky emulsions will degrade the noxious smell.


You Can’t Always Buy What You Want

“But if you try real hard you just might get what you need.”

You don’t always get what you pay for. USA health and health care indices are far behind Cuba despite spending far more per capita.
Adversity and necessity are the mothers of invention and imagination.
>Beginning in 1990, Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, wanted to rescue the Cuban tradition of herbal medicine to provide natural medicines for its healthcare system. The immaculately maintained farm has grown from a modest four crops in its first year to a spectacular 45 crops in 2003; it has continued to grow with a small staff of only 45 workers and with no machinery. (By government mandate, only oxen are permitted for use in the fields.)
The major herbs grown for use by the ministry this season include oregano, calendula, Japanese mint, German chamomile, aloe vera, eucalyptus, banana leaves and turmeric.

The children were proud to show us their medicinal herbal garden.

The local school, Republica Oriental Del Uraguay, at Las Terrazas was vibrant and noisy as children poured out at the end of the day. Daniel Perez, the school principal, explained that his students are taught how to use plants for common problems as part of the school curriculum. The children were proud to show us their medicinal herbal garden. As part of the prevention theme, at-risk children, with problems such as obesity, receive counselling and encouragement from the school’s therapist to change cooking and eating habits at home.

From Birchbark to Chaga


Western red cedar’s known active principal compound, β-thujaplicin, has been studied in atopic dermatitis. White spruce’s known active principal compound, 7-hydroxymatairesinol, has anti-inflammatory activity, while phase II clinical trials have been completed on a birch bark emulsion for the treatment of actinic keratoses, epidermolysis bullosa, and the healing of split thickness graft donor sites. Balsam poplar has been used clinically as an anti-aging remedy. Black spruce bark contains higher amounts of the anti-oxidant trans-resveratrol than red wine. (


In summary our results contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanism of the clinically proven wound healing effect of birch bark. Our results, together with the proven efficacy, identify birch bark as the first medical plant with a high potential to improve wound healing, a field which urgently needs effective remedies. Moreover, birch bark is a successful example that traditional medicinal plants can become rational drugs. (


The Queen of Herbs

And herb of the Queen, Catherine de Medici.

Nice video (with music!) of growing then flowering Woodland Tobacco. The two species with fine jasmine smell are Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana alata. Sylvestris/Woodland tobacco has many decorative garden cultivars/varieties with fancy colors. The white flowers variety are the original primitive plant ancestor to the smoking tobaccos and some others such as Nicotiana rustica, probably the species first introduced to Iberia where Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, encountered the plant ca. 450 years ago then popularized it as a medicinal poultice cure to treat skin cancer and ringworm and as snuff or chew for migraine headaches, sending some to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, for her own headaches and/or those of Dauphin Francois II. With so much associated buzz Linnaeus named the genus Nicotiana.

Nicot tobacco

Image of Nicot presenting tobacco to Catherine de  Medici

Macular Degeneration and BDNF

Alva2 eye

A new study from LSU Health Sciences Center found that one of the omega-3 fatty acids protects your retina from lethal injuries as they happen. But it does much more… Researchers found that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also protects your eyes from damage that may occur in the future. They said that DHA “preconditions” photoreceptor cells — special neurons in the retina — to survive future injuries.

It does the same thing for your retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. The RPE nourishes your retina. It’s also the first line of defense against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness. In other words, DHA acts like a vaccine. It provides protection against a future injury to the retina or other parts of the eye. When rats were given DHA before oxidative stress struck, the DHA protected against the damage that usually would occur in the eye.

If you have ever been diagnosed with an eye condition such as macular degeneration or cataracts, the doctor might have told you: “All we can do is watch and track the disease’s progress. It will inevitably get worse, and there is no way to reverse or regenerate the deterioration.
> Researchers found that cells in the eyes—specifically retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are responsible for transmitting information from the eyes to the brain—are capable of regeneration, too. This is groundbreaking.

BDNF crucial to healing and regeneration of eyes.

We can reverse and heal damage due to traumatic injuries or degenerative diseases by boosting our BDNF levels. This is powerful information! Here’s how to do it:

Do aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes per day.
Get 30 minutes of sunlight per day.
Try intermittent fasting. Fasting rests your digestive system and stimulates healing.
Consume omega-3 fatty acids.
Add pre-probiotic fiber to your diet. Gut bacteria converts prebiotics into butyrate, a substance that has been shown to increase BDNF.
Eat curcumin to enhance mood and cognition and improve BDNF production.
Eliminate sugar and processed foods.
Drink antioxidant-rich green tea.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Cultivate positive relationships.
Add resveratrol and other polyphenols to your diet for their neuroprotective properties.
Get good-quality sleep.
Reduce your stress levels. Irregular cortisol levels can disrupt BDNF production.
Add magnesium to your diet. It’s estimated more than 50 percent of Americans are deficient in this mineral.
Add zinc to your diet. This trace mineral has antidepressant qualities and can increase BDNF levels in the brain.

Add these foods with eye-healthy nutrients to your diet.

>Asparagus. It contains glutathione, known as the ‘master antioxidant’ of the body, which is especially important in the lens and macula of the eye. Asparagus also contains folic acid which has been shown to prevent or reduce age-related macular degeneration.
Avocados. I eat one avocado a day. It has Omega-9 oils which prevent optic nerve problems and support a healthy brain, eye, and body.
Carrots. The beta-carotene is really great for all the eye tissues.
Coconut oil. This is a great fat that protects the optic nerve and the macula. It also helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Cordyceps. This is a medicinal mushroom that helps improve the respiratory system and the kidneys
Corn. Of course, I’m talking about non-GMO corn. But the yellow and the orange parts of the corn contain lutein, which is an important carotenoid that helps protect our retinas.
Blueberries. These are high in antioxidants that protect microcapillaries of the retina. It also helps our night vision.
Goji berries. This is a superfood which contains amino acids that help protect the macula and overall retina.
Lime. This is another very important fruit that has high levels of flavonoids, which balance the pH level in the body. Limes are also loaded with antioxidants.
Pumpkin seeds. These seeds contain high amounts of zinc and are a good source of protein and trace minerals. This is one of my go-tos in terms of getting plant-based protein.
Strawberries. Last but not least, strawberries are excellent for the health of your macula and retina.    (

(Note that the preceding recommendations are based on proxies such as BDNF and others listed, antioxidants, lutein, glutathione, etc.


A History of Mushing Before We Knew It


Albert Campbell from The Pas, Manitoba, winner of the 1917 St Paul Winter Carnival Winnipeg to St Paul race


Emil St Godard, winner of the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Olympics sled dog race

The Pas mushers

Shorty Russick on the left, 3rd place Lake Placid, St Godard far right the winner of the 1932 sled dog race gold medal, railroad baggage car used to transport sled dogs across the US and Canada to participate in races



Every 4 years the Winter Olympics and around the same time the Iditarod generate the same question: why isn’t mushing in the Olympics?


Sled dogs have coexisted and cooperated in partnership with humans for many thousands of years in the northern regions of North America and Siberia. Archeological evidence puts the earliest date at over 4,000 years ago. Some anthropologists suggest that human habitation and survival in the Arctic would not have been possible without sled dogs. In the Southwest of what is now the United States the first Spanish explorers encountered Indians who used dogs as draft animals pulling travois. They remarked that these dogs were an integral part of the Indians’ culture. In fact, in many North American Indian cultures the relationship with dogs was central to their style of life and the introduction of horses occurred in parallel without replacing or diminishing the cultural importance of dogs as respected associates and partners.

Sled dog activities as recreation and friendly competition may have existed for almost as long as the relationship between dogs and humans in the regions where snow was a seasonal probability. The first written account of a race was an informal challenge between travelers on the route from Winnipeg to St. Paul in the 1850s. In 1886 the first Saint Paul Winter Carnival featured sled dog races and ski competitions as part of the festival to glorify the attractions of winter in Minnesota. Sled dog races have been part of the Winter Carnival to the present day. The most memorable event was the 1917 race from Winnipeg to Saint Paul on which a recent Walt Disney movie (Iron Will) was loosely based. In reality the race that year was won by Albert Campbell, a Metis from The Pas, Manitoba followed by his brother in second place.

At the turn of the century the attention of the outside world had been drawn to the far North, Alaska and the Yukon, by the Gold Rush. The first major sled dog races to receive world wide attention were organized in Nome, Alaska as the All-Alaska Sweepstakes. Scotty Allan was a Scotsman who had come to North America as a handler for work horses and then joined the prospectors in the Klondike as a dog musher freighting supplies in to the remote mines and camps. He played a major role in the organization and focus of the early races in Alaska. It was Scotty Allan’s experience and understanding of working animals that helped to determine the course of the first races in Nome and of the sport these races inspired, insisting on the paramount importance of dog care. The All Alaska Sweepstakes races and the concurrent festivities were reported in the New York Times and other major newspapers. In addition to Scotty Allan, another musher who first came to prominence in Nome, Leonard Seppala, went on to have a major influence on the development of the sport.

By the 1920’s returning gold miners brought sled dog racing to New England where it prospered. The Gold Rush influence was felt throughout North America, even where mushing was already a popular sport. In the region around The Pas, Manitoba, where racing had continued since the teens, the style of harness changed from the traditional trap line tandem hitch with horse collar harnesses to the new Alaskan gangline with dogs in pairs and lightweight harnesses entirely made from webbing or lamp wicking. These were the glory years for sled dog racing during the 20’s and 30’s. The top professional mushers were often sponsored by prominent businesses or businessmen and the teams traveled across the continent by rail in boxcars, from New England to races as far west as Ashton, Idaho.

The attention given to mushing and its popularity in the news media made it a natural consequence that the first Winter Olympics held in North America would feature sled dog racing as representative of sports that originated on this continent. The 1932 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games included Sled Dog Racing as a Demonstration Sport. The contestants ran 7-dog teams 25 miles each day for two days. The winner was a French Canadian from The Pas, Manitoba, Emile St. Goddard whose duels with Leonard Seppala on the trails were already legend. Second was the Norwegian by way of Alaska, Leonard Seppala, and third was a Russian by way of Brooklyn and Manitoba, Shorty Russick.

Despite the international character of the participants in the race in Lake Placid there was little activity outside North America except in Norway where the use of dogs for military supply and ambulance work beginning at the time of the First World War had been transformed into a sport. (Sled dogs were also used during WWI in France and the SudTirol/Alto Adige region of Italy.) The influence of Nansen and Amundsen who used sled dogs in the North and South Polar regions was also important in establishing a Scandinavian sled dog sport. In the 1952 Oslo Olympics sled dogs were featured again as a Demonstration Sport this time in the form of pulka races where the driver accompanies the dogs on skis behind a toboggan or pulka.

Mushing in its many different forms has gradually spread around the world since that period. In 1992 the International Federation of Sleddog Sports was officially incorporated as a way to focus the efforts of many national, local and international organizations on the goal of Olympic recognition and alignment of mushing with other mainstream sports through the General Association of International Sports Federations. IFSS is recognized by GAISF and in all countries as the world governing body of sled dog sports. For more information visit the website at

In the 1950s and 60s the use of working dogs was gradually disappearing throughout North America. Airplanes and snowmobiles eliminated the need for sled dogs as transportation. One person, Joe Redington Senior and one race, the Iditarod, more than any other factors were responsible for preserving and reinvigorating mushing and continuing its traditions. Critics at the time said the only reason he and Dick Mackey started and put so much effort into the Iditarod was that their dogs and teams were too slow to be competitive in the existing sprint races like the Open North American Championship and Anchorage Fur Rondy. I believe that Joe Redington more than anyone else sustained and revived the true spirit of dog mushing as a way of life and the joyful working partnership with sled dogs that it had always been, at a time when, with the use of snow machines and other machinery, the dogs’ traditional role in transportation and subsistence and the tradition itself was disappearing. The Iditarod is not simply the most reported and recognized sled dog race in the world; it is a living monument to Joe and his vision and appreciation of the spirit of mushing.

Ironically, one important reason that sled dog racing is not part of the official Olympic Program now is its success outside the Olympics during the early years when other winter sports were barely recognized. The 1932 medal winners in Lake Placid were all professionals by the IOC standards of the time. For the sled dog race, a different definition was deliberately used, considering the importance to the Lake Placid Olympics of having competitors already recognized as household names in many parts of North America, when few if any other winter sports could claim an audience at all. During the following years sled dog racing continued its independent path of development and promotion.

A more direct answer as to why mushing is not in the Olympics considering the specific details and incidents:

The fact that dogs were used was not a disqualification. There are two sports in the Olympics already that involve horses. There are sports like archery and shooting that require less outright athletic ability. There is as much skill needed in sled dog racing as any other sport. The fact that it was different, an extreme sport in its own right at a time when the Olympics absorbed snowboarding and added X games type sports/events was an attraction added to the history of being in the Lake Placid Olympics where mushing was the leading most publicized sport. The New York Times commented that organizers were worried that the Lake Placid Games would not attract enough attention or spectators and were counting on the sled dog races to do it. So it was: the NY State Troopers were called in to clear the roads and road crossings during the sled dog race because of the crowds that showed up coming by train from NY City.

As president or vice president of the IFSS for 8 years beginning late ’98 one of the biggest problems I had was with people in the sport and in mushing organizations who were telling me with their own certainty what to do to achieve Olympic recognition. When I tracked down the basis for their assumptions or talked directly to the IOC and other International Olympic Sports Federations the people within mushing who claimed to know were invariably wrong. One of the biggest failings by IFSS was not recognizing the importance to the Olympic Movement of DEVELOPMENT. The commitment to use the resources of the sport especially from wealthier countries where that sport is well-established to subsidize and promote the sport in new regions and countries and to recruit and train new participants throughout the world. Programs and activities to recruit and train new participants should especially also be directed to youth in all countries.

When mushing was put to a vote at a meeting in Tokyo mid 90s it was expected to be approved but a last minute objection brought to the meeting from a pure breed organization undid all the other effort and work that had been done. Without due preparation FISTC claims were not going to disappear by ignoring them.

Simple answer: the personal animosity and jealousy of two Frenchmen antagonists whose true sport was politics, unwilling to share or be part of a much bigger scope for mushing, couples with their own and other mushing bureaucrats’ inability and lack of preparation to address the issues in the context of the Olympic Movement principles related to inclusion and DEVELOPMENT.

Either a joint application of the two organizations or having one person credible to IOC as advocate on the side of IFSS who could have answered FISTC’s claim as a rival to IFSS would have put mushing in the Olympic Program. So Gerhard Heiberg said to me 10 years later. Heiberg was at that meeting as head of the Lillehammer Games Organizing Committee and later became a member of the IOC Executive Board.


What does it mean really?

There’s many a slip between the evidence for populations and any particular patient! Perhaps evidence-BIASED would be more accurate way to characterize the problems.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science…

As a marketing slogan Evidence-Based seems to have lost its punch and now serves primarily to remind the public of their increasing distrust of the institutions and institutionalized methods that too often are market-driven distortions of valid scientific process.

The Trump Administration was doing the CDC a favor to caution them not to use the terms evidence based or science based in their press releases.

DMSO capsaicin

Notice DMSO listed as an inactive ingredient. Although it has anti-inflammatory properties no good would come of claiming it does have medicinal value and letting loose the FDA dogs.

“It’s called dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO. It’s a sulfur-rich compound that’s actually produced from trees when they’re turned into wood pulp for paper making.

It was once an underground sensation among pro athletes, in-the-know-doctors, and even racehorse trainers… because of its amazing bio-chemical effects… (Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes even did a full-length piece on the health benefits of DMSO in 1982)…

But because it’s not a prescription drug, doctors slowly stopped using it. And it was all but forgotten in scientific circles…”

>“Randomized controlled trials,” which compare how one group responds to a treatment against how an identical group fares without the treatment, had long been considered nearly unshakable evidence, but they, too, ended up being wrong some of the time. “I realized even our gold-standard research had a lot of problems,” he says. Baffled, he started looking for the specific ways in which studies were going wrong. And before long he discovered that the range of errors being committed was astonishing: from what questions researchers posed, to how they set up the studies, to which patients they recruited for the studies, to which measurements they took, to how they analyzed the data, to how they presented their results, to how particular studies came to be published in medical journals.

If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable. That article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (

>John Ioannidis is one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have repeatedly shown that many of the conclusions biomedical researchers arrive at in their published studies are exaggerated or flat-out wrong. Yet this is the “science-based evidence” doctors use to prescribe drugs or recommend surgery. According to Ioannidis’ findings, as much as 90 percent of the published medical information relied on by doctors is flawed or incorrect.9

He’s not the only one who has reached this conclusion. In fact, the idea that conventional medical treatments are “scientifically proven” and based on solid science is quite the misnomer. According to 2007 data from the British Medical Journal’s “Clinical Evidence” website, of the 2,500 treatments evaluated, only 15 percent were rated as beneficial. A whopping 46 percent had an efficacy rating of “unknown.”10,11

In other words, nearly half of accepted medical treatments used in general practice were not scientifically proven to work or provide benefit for the patient. Granted, that’s a significant improvement over statistics compiled in 1978, when the Office of Technology Assessment concluded only 10 to 20 percent of medical treatments had evidence to support their use.12 Research also shows that many novel medical treatments gain popularity over older standards of care due mostly to clever marketing, not solid science.

An investigation13 by the Mayo Clinic published in 2013 proved this point. To determine the overall effectiveness of medical care, researchers tracked the frequency of medical reversals over the past decade. Not only did they find that reversals are common across all classes of medical practice, but they too confirmed that a significant proportion of medical treatments offer no patient benefit.

The most telling data in the report confirm that many common medical treatments actually do more harm than good. Of the studies that tested an existing standard of care, 40 percent reversed the practice as it was found to be either ineffective or harmful. Only 38 percent of the studies reaffirmed existing standards.

The remaining 22 percent were inconclusive. This means that anywhere between 40 and 78 percent of the medical testing, treatments and procedures you receive are of no benefit to you — or are actually harmful — according to clinical studies.

Doctors (not to mention drug companies) may bemoan the lack of trust and faith in their offerings, but you certainly cannot claim that it’s an undeserved trend. In 2000, Dr. Barbara Starfield published a study revealing that doctors are in fact the third leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 225,000 patients annually.17 Her statistics showed that each year:

  • 12,000 die from unnecessary surgery
  • 7,000 die from medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 die from other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 die from hospital-acquired infections
  • 106,000 die from the negative side effects of drugs taken as prescribed

According to a 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 30 percent of all medical procedures, tests and medications may in fact be unnecessary,22 at a cost of at least $750 billion a year. (