“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics…”
At Regenexx, unlike everyone else offering stem cells, we perform the back-end basic research to improve what we do. With the opening of our 2nd lab in our Colorado facility (Regenexx Research and Discovery Lab), we’ve been hard at work finding out new ways to help heal orthopedic injuries using stem cells and platelets. One project we began last year as a pilot will be completing in the next few months and closely guessing the outcome of this particular orthopedic stem cell research project could provide you with a $2500 credit towards a Regenexx stem cell procedure at our Colorado office.
We’ve been told for many years that giving middle-aged and elderly men testosterone to treat what’s called Andropause would most certainly help their stem cells. However, after looking through the published literature, it turns out the certainly of some of our colleagues is what I call a WAG (Wild A$$ GUESS), in that no research has ever been conducted with patients looking at stem cell production before and after low T was fixed. So we began an IRB approved research project. We first tested the stem cells of 4 men both before and after a simple hormone replacement program lasting 3 months. While we had no idea of what we would find, on average, we did see that the men produced about double the number of stem cells after their hormones were fixed and that these stem cells were more robust and less likely to be hurt by catabolic (read bad) cytokines (read chemicals) that could be found inside an arthritic joint. However, 4 samples isn’t enough to hang your hat on, so we moved to the next step of recruiting and treating an additional 16 men for a total of 20. This is the second phase of the research that will soon be concluding.
Now here comes the fun part. Use Twitter to tweet your stem cell guess to my Twitter account (@CCentenoMD), or send us a message through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Regenexx) in terms of a percentage of stem cells above (or below) baseline to the tenths place. So for example, if you thought the larger group of patients would see roughly a doubling of stem cells, then you might go with 100.5% more stem cells. If you thought that the stem cell count will go down by about a quarter, then you would tweet -25.2% stem cells. When the project is done in the next 1-2 months, I will reveal the winner. In the meantime, taking a guess on how those stem cells will perform in our lab may be a great way to ease your wallet!
FYI, I will also have our biostatistician (who performs research on the clinical outcomes in the registry) test Sir Frances Galton’s theory of regression toward the mean. Galton was a keen observer of everything. In 1906, while visiting a livestock fair, he stumbled upon an intriguing contest. An ox was on display, and the villagers were invited to guess the animal’s weight after it was slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 participated, but not one person hit the exact mark: 1,198 pounds. He asked the judges for all of the guesses to perform a mathematical experiment. He then went home and calculated the mean of the entries, thinking at first that the crowd would be dumb and cattle experts who had guessed would come the closest to guessing the real weight. However, he was astonished to find that the statistical mean of the entries at 1,197 pounds, was even more accurate than any one individual guess. In essence the crowd was smarter than any expert. This math experiment has since been memorialized by being conducted again and again in college statistics courses all over the world, usually with guessing the number of jelly beans in a big jar. Will the wisdom of a crowd of Regenexx blog readers get it right? This problem is bit different than the Ox, as I’m asking the group to guess on something without any physical evidence before them other than the fact that the stem cell count about doubled in the first experiment. Will the statistical mean or randomness prevail? Stay tuned…