|Gene sequencing and
positron emission tomography are impressive
technologies. But high-tech instruments—without advanced
mathematics—do not make a a highly advanced science. As
the 19th century mathematical physicist Lord Kelvin
wrote, "To measure is to know." To measure with highly
advanced mathematical modeling, as does Prof. Das, makes possible
the greatest advances of science—even within
the primordial investigative field of medicine.
Carry us further aloft Prof. Das!
—Dr. John C. Lowe
Advancing Science. As Prof. Das wrote, “The models [which he statistically derived] support most of the facts observed in clinical practice.” From his statement, one might ask, if the models support observations already within clinical practice, then why bother to objectify them? My answer is predated by three and a half decades by Dr. David Horrobin.
Horrobin was the brilliant founder and Editor-in-Chief of Medical Hypotheses. The quality of his intellectual and scientific work in medicine was validated by his close working relationships with the likes of Prof. Linus Pauling, Sir Karl Popper, Dr. Author C. Guyton, Sir John Eccles, and Sir James Black.
Upon inaugurating Medical Hypotheses, Horrobin wrote that medical
science is "primitive and unsophisticated.”
I contend that his indictment is as
true today as it was when Horrobin published it thirty-five years
ago. And today, my staunch belief is this: Only when scientists such as Prof. Das use
mathematical methods in medical science will some medical notions be
elevated to the level of the
equation-derived propositions of physics and cosmology; and only
then will the
term "medical science” cease to be a ludicrous contradiction of
Few of us comprehend the equations that Prof. Das derives from the statistical method (“joint generalized linear modeling”) he used to analyze the maternal and neonatal data in his study. But readers do not have to comprehend Das' equations or statistical method to gain from his publication. As I noted above, Das kindly incorporated his nine precise conclusions in Section 5 of his paper. These are easily comprehended by common linguistics.
Health and Life of Neonates. Professor Das’ statistical work with maternal urinary iodine and its maternal and neonatal covariates leads to another important conclusion: As he notes, the risk of brain damage and neonatal mortality, rather than goiter, have become the main reasons to advocate urgent correction of iodine deficiency. Why the urgency? Because neonates are more sensitive than children and adults to the effects of iodine deficiency. This is true because the pool of iodine within the neonate’s thyroid gland is much smaller than in adults; also, the neonate's gland has a relatively accelerated iodine turnover rate.
Conclusion. Prof. Das’ firm statistical findings have profound implications for normal brain development and even the survival of newborns. And his method exemplifies the approach upon which advanced sciences were raised to their present exalting heights.
To me, then, Das’ exemplary work has both
solid medical and scientific implications, as well as highly practical and
humanitarian ones. Some of us may not comprehend his equations
as easily as we do his prose. But despite this, the
importance of Prof. Rabin Das' work for the advancement of
medical care and medical science is unmistakable.
1. Das, R.N.: The role of iodine in the thyroid status of mothers and their neonates. Thyroid Sci., 6(2):1-15, 2011.
2. Horrobin, D.F.: Ideas in biomedical science: reasons for the foundation of medical hypotheses. Med. Hypotheses, 1(1):1, 1975.