Introducing the "N Of One" Section of Our Blog


By: David Gobel

As many of you know, the statistic "N" stands for the sample size of interest when studying an issue or calculating percentages.

No scientific study could find reliable and valid results if the numbers of participants in the study are too few to accurately estimate the population as a whole.  However, it is also true that when it comes to an individual's health and longevity, our experiences do not follow statistical findings as law. Yourself, your significant other, your child, your happens one person at a time. 

In the next little while, as we move away from a statistical and epidemiological approach to research and toward a deterministic engineering approach, it will become more useful and even necessary to study and treat each person as their own statistical universe, a quantified self. As individuals, most of us do this already. We take a supplement...we wait a bit...we ask ourselves - does it make me feel better? Do I look better? Am I stronger? Am I sick less frequently than before? As medical devices, tests, and instruments become more accurate, effective, and accessible to mere mortals with regular budgets, we are entering an era when we can begin using these new tools and techniques to do careful personal experimentation and share our results on the basis of our inalienable right to freedom of speech.

To that end, we modestly present a journey into our personal experience with "near field environmental factors" and health. This series will be the first entry in what we hope will become a shared resource that helps us all get better and better. Welcome to the "N of One"!

As we begin our first journey, I'd like to suggest an entirely new field of exploration which will become apparent in the following articles. I call the field the "exosoma"; i.e., the stuff outside the body that transiently flows through our bodies. In greek, "exo" means "outside" and "soma" means "body". By way of explanation, fish are certainly affected by the contents and quality of water they swim in, but it's so patently obvious, we tend to not even pay attention to this fundamental fact. This is further made laughable by the thought that the fish themselves probably don't even know water exists.

Is it possible that we pay insufficient attention to our own "exosoma"? That is, the air we breathe? The contents of the air? The changes in the air as we travel? How this exosoma courses through our cardiopulmonary system and literally gives us life? Yet, it's the "water in which we swim".

So... please don't think of this as Dave having gone round the bend with new-age thinking. I will not be sharing crystals and pyramids. Instead, I hope you'll enjoy the results of my 5 years of "amateur science", which has, after being chronically afflicted with respiratory infections, gradually freed me of any colds, flu, or bronchitis. None, nada. But, after all, please remember this is just an "N Of One".