2020 Annual letter to Examine readers

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:

CEOs typically send an annual letter to their shareholders.

But you’re not a shareholder of Examine, and I’m not a CEO. So what’s the purpose of this letter?

Transparency. It’s what all good science is based on.

We reference everything we claim.

We publicly discuss our mistakes.

Basically, we want you to know what’s going on, and we want you to hold us accountable. So if you’re interested in Examine, read on for some details.…

THE (NEAR) FUTURE: 2021

The marvel and madness of human physiology makes it difficult to categorize health topics. We took a step back this year and really thought it through:

If we were building the site from scratch today, how would we organize the information to help people quickly find what they need?

You’ll discover our answer in the coming few months (as we approach our 10th anniversary!) in the form of a much more integrated Examine.

The site will be neatly structured around 25 Health Categories. Here’s an example:

  • Pain is a broad Health Category.

  • Osteoarthritis is a specific Health Condition under that Health Category.

  • Stiffness is a measurable Health Outcome under that Health Condition.

  • Fish oil is a Health Supplement you may take to improve that Health Outcome.

We’re also developing an integrated research glossary. On the website, you’ll soon be able to hover over terms such as “significant” to find a quick explanation in layman terms, and to click through if you want more details. (Hint: For scientists, “significant” doesn’t mean “important” but “statistically significant”.)

To undertake this overhaul, we’ve expanded our research team — thanks to all of you who subscribed to our memberships in the past year!

We’re reorganizing all our health information from the ground up. This is taking a while, as you might imagine! But it’s pretty darn exciting, and I don’t think any other health website has ever gone to such lengths to make everything tidy, connected, and understandable. We’re all evidence, all the time, and now we’re getting even more systematic about translating that evidence for you.

THE (RECENT) PAST: 2020

Our mission is to help everyone be healthier. For that purpose, we’ve been summarizing evidence on supplements and nutrition for nearly a decade.

This year, we released Examine Personalized, an innovative research service that we started planning way back in 2016. Each month, we review thousands of studies and summarize the most important within the health categories chosen by each subscriber. It’s quite a large undertaking, with each monthly issue taking over 500 hours to compile.

In the past year, we’ve also released three very thorough and free guides: the first to help you optimize your protein intake, the second to help you understand scientific studies, and the third to help you stay healthy and sane during the pandemic.

While the pandemic has hurt most everyone, it has also deepened cracks in the public-health system. We explored them in a long post: Inequality is a public-health issue: 10 examples.

While many readers wrote in to tell us how much they learned from this article, or how it shed light on issues they themselves faced, a few readers hated it and said they were unsubscribing because of it. The most common reason given was that they didn’t want to see Examine get involved in politics.

Examine has never been involved in politics, and never will be. While politics has a huge impact on public health, summarizing public-health research is not inherently political. Since our mission is to help everyone be healthier, we couldn’t simply ignore some of the major impediments to health improvement.

2020 has been bad for most people, but worse for some than others. We helped as best we could by doing what we do best: collating and analysing the evidence.

How to stay informed about Examine’s research

If you want us to keep you informed on our projects, updated pages, and new articles, you can subscribe to our mailing list (if you haven’t already) and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where we’ve recently become a lot more active.

And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We always answer.

On behalf of all our team, I wish you all the best for 2021.

Sincerely,

Kamal Patel

Co-Founder, Examine

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