Weigh the evidence

I am writing in reply to a recent letter, in which the writer expressed concern as to the accuracy of statements that have been put forth promoting the positive effect of an Aquatic Centre on our community.

Dear Editor;

I am writing in reply to a recent letter, in which the writer expressed concern as to the accuracy of statements that have been put forth promoting the positive effect of an Aquatic Centre on our community.

The first concern is the accuracy of previously quoted statistics in regards to the percentage of people with Diabetes Mellitus and Depression in Princeton. These statistics were extracted from the following reputable source: Princeton-17 Local Health Area Profile March 2010, published by Interior Health. Sources are named as Primary Health Care Registry, Discharge Abstract Database and Medical Services Plan.

The second concern is regarding a long list of statements which he deems to be untrue/unproven. These statements, in their original forms/context, were spoken by people who are experts in their fields. They cannot be discounted by random google searches or anecdotal conversations.

I personally, do not claim to be an expert in any of these fields.  I have, however, spent a considerable amount of time in university subjected to multiple research courses (admittedly not my favorite). Through these six years I did manage to glean a bit of information: there are different levels of evidence. The highest being those proven through Double-Blind-Placebo Trials, the lowest being no evidence at all. Within this hierarchy of evidence falls Expert Opinion. This is a very legitimate form of evidence when higher evidence is not available. I too have heard variations of the claims that are mentioned in the “unproven facts” letter (although the “unproven facts” letter pulled many of them out of context). I  have heard them spoken by experts in our community. Admittedly, expert opinion may vary depending on the expert, but this does not delegitimize their opinion.

Having some understanding of the rigor that is required for Double-Blind-Placebo Trials, I for one am more than comfortable with seeking the opinion of experts in our community in making my decision about how I will vote on September 24. I encourage others to critically weigh the evidence, your own values and your vision for the future of our town as you make your decision.

I will see you at the polls!

Tanya ter Keurs BSN, MN (NP)F