Released June 12th 2014 - Updated February 26th 2015

This example demonstrates how the Non Zero Ratio toolbox supports paradigm-changing new perspectives.

Be warned: as Einstein said: problems cannot be solved at the level they were created: they require a paradigm shift.

paradigm shift proposes by definition a deviation from the norm and is thus abnormal. So what follows will look absurd : a statement will be made that surely cannot be true. However, using a combination of known facts, a new logic will be presented that supports the absurd statement, and thus should be true also.

So here you go : how do you feel about the following suggested paradigm change ... :


Preventive health care campaigns against smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, ...  that stress the harm may well increase risk and cause additional victims contrary to the general expectation!

This apparent absurdity is claimed to be true because of the placebo effect that results from expectation/conditioning: The placebo effect manifests itself not only with positive expectations/conditioning (a drug expected to cure) but also with negative expectations/conditioning.

Considering that most health care campaigns focus on the negative expectations associated with bad habits, one could expect these health care campaigns to also harvest a negative placebo effect. Such campaigns would thus work positively when reducing the group with the bad behaviour (e.g. smokers that quit smoking), but should be expected to increase the risk of disease with those persons that stick to bad habits (smokers that don't quit smoking).

Thus, the risk over time of any health risk could increase over time in case of sustained preventive health care campaigns stressing the negative expectations with bad habbits.

Considering that the placebo effect is observed quite universally with drugs, one could expect it to also be omnipresent with preventive health care campaigns, thus negatively affecting millions of people within the groups at risk addressed by these campaigns.

The compelling logic in support of this apparently absurd thesis is presented in this White Paper (pdf, 8pages), identifying also some evidence through known and confirmed but badly understood "anomalies (the hall-mark of paradigm changes: facts that cannot be explained and are thus disregarded). 

This new perspective suggests one should avoid the use of negative expectations in preventive health care campaigns and thus redefine preventive health care policies, considering that the negative ramifications of such health care campaigns are potentially staggering.

This new perspective invites to challenge the current thinking in preventive health care campaigns with scientific rigour:

-  scrutinizing of logic: Is there any scientific evidence that justifies the disregarding of the placebo effect in preventive health care campaigns?

The new perspective also suggests new ways of looking to scientific data and makes verifiable predictions: increase of health risks because of preventive health care campaigns using negative expectations: see White Paper (pdf, 8pages).

Last but not least, the White Paper also shows how this downplaying of the placebo effect negatively affects new drug development: if pharmaceutical companies would harvest the placebo effect and consider it an ally rather than an enemy, this would reduce development costs for new drugs.