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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

Boo! Who’s afraid of availability bias?

Just in time for Halloween: I came across this 2-minute video by Brian Zikmund-Fisher, a professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan, and I took a look because I was curious what he had to say. The video is called “Why aren’t we more scared of measles?” and has the […]

People used to send me ugly graphs, now I get these things

Antonio Rinaldi points me to this journal article which reports: We found a sinusoidal pattern in CMM [cutaneous malignant melanoma] risk by season of birth (P = 0.006). . . . Adjusted odds ratios for CMM by season of birth were 1.21 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–1.39; P = 0.008] for spring, 1.07 (95% CI, […]

One of the worst infographics ever, but people don’t care?

This post is by Phil Price. Perhaps prompted by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this infographic has been making the rounds: I think this is one of the worst I have ever seen. I don’t know where it came from, so I can’t give credit/blame where it’s due. Let’s put aside the numbers themselves – […]

Data & Visualization Tools to Track Ebola

I’ve received the following email (slightly edited for clarity): Can anyone recommend a turnkey, full-service solution to help the Liberian government track the spread of Ebola and get this information out to the public? They want something that lets healthcare workers update info from mobile phones, and a workflow that results in data visualizations. They […]

The health policy innovation center: how best to move from pilot studies to large-scale practice?

A colleague pointed me to this news article regarding evaluation of new health plans: The Affordable Care Act would fund a new research outfit evocatively named the Innovation Center to discover how to most effectively deliver health care, with $10 billion to spend over a decade. But now that the center has gotten started, many […]

The Ben Geen case: Did a naive interpretation of a cluster of cases send an innocent nurse to prison until 2035?

In a paper called “Rarity of Respiratory Arrest,” Richard Gill writes: Statistical analysis of monthly rates of events in around 20 hospitals and over a period of about 10 years shows that respiratory arrest, though about five times less frequent than cardio-respiratory arrest, is a common occurrence in the Emergency Department of a typical smaller […]

“The Europeans and Australians were too eager to believe in renal denervation”

As you can see, I’m having a competition with myself for the most boring title ever. The story, though, is not boring. Paul Alper writes: I just came across this in the NYT. Here is the NEJM article itself: And here is the editorial in the NEJM: The gist is that on the basis of […]

“P.S. Is anyone working on hierarchical survival models?”

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: I’m working on building a predictive model (not causal) of the onset of diabetes mellitus using electronic medical records from a semi-panel of HMO patients. The dependent variable is blood glucose level. The unit of analysis is the patient visit to a network doctor or hospitalization in a […]

As if we needed another example of lying with statistics and not issuing a correction: bike-share injuries

This post is by Phil Price A Washington Post article says “In the first study of its kind, researchers from Washington State University and elsewhere found  a 14 percent greater risk of head injuries to cyclists associated with cities that have bike share programs. In fact, when they compared raw head injury data for cyclists […]

Spring forward, fall back, drop dead?

Antonio Rinaldi points me to a press release describing a recent paper by Amneet Sandhu, Milan Seth, and Hitinder Gurm, where I got the above graphs (sorry about the resolution, that’s the best I could do). Here’s the press release: Data from the largest study of its kind in the U.S. reveal a 25 percent […]