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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

The UN Plot to Force Bayesianism on Unsuspecting Americans (penalized B-Spline edition)

Mike Spagat sent me an email with the above heading, referring to this paper by Leontine Alkema and Jin Rou New, which begins: National estimates of the under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) are used to track progress in reducing child mortality and to evaluate countries’ performance related to United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4, which calls […]

Should personal genetic testing be regulated? Battle of the blogroll

On the side of less regulation is Alex Tabarrok in “Our DNA, Our Selves”: At the same time that the NSA is secretly and illegally obtaining information about Americans the FDA is making it illegal for Americans to obtain information about themselves. In a warning letter the FDA has told Anne Wojcicki, The Most Daring […]

“Please make fun of this claim”

Jeff sent me an email with the above title and a link to a press release, “Nut consumption reduces risk of death,” which begins: According to the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than […]

An interesting but flawed attempt to apply general forecasting principles to contextualize attitudes toward risks of global warming

I came across a document [updated link here], “Applying structured analogies to the global warming alarm movement,” by Kesten Green and Scott Armstrong. The general approach is appealing to me, but the execution seemed disturbingly flawed. Here’s how they introduce the project: The structured analogies procedure we [Green and Armstrong] used for this study was […]

Chasing the noise: W. Edwards Deming would be spinning in his grave

Amy Cohen writes: A surgeon showed me the “report card” his hospital received about his surgical group. The figure below shows what the report card looks like. I am very curious to hear what you think about the “deciles of the odds ratio” approach to evaluate and rank hospitals used by the American College of […]

PubMed Commons: A system for commenting on articles in PubMed

Rob “Lasso” Tibshirani writes: We all read a lot of papers and often have useful things to say about them, but there is no systematic way to do this ­ lots of journals have commenting systems, but they’re clunky, and, most importantly, they’re scattered across thousands of sites. Journals don’t encourage critical comments from readers, […]

Mister P: What’s its secret sauce?

This is a long and technical post on an important topic: the use of multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) to estimate state-level public opinion. MRP as a research method, and state-level opinion (or, more generally, attitudes in demographic and geographic subpopulation) as a subject, have both become increasingly important in political science—and soon, I expect, […]

Ideas that spread fast and slow

Atul Gawande (the thinking man’s Malcolm Gladwell) asks: Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846. The Boston surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow was approached […]

On house arrest for p-hacking

People keep pointing me to this excellent news article by David Brown, about a scientist who was convicted of data manipulation: In all, 330 patients were randomly assigned to get either interferon gamma-1b or placebo injections. Disease progression or death occurred in 46 percent of those on the drug and 52 percent of those on […]

Bayes alert! Cool postdoc position here on missing data imputation and applications in health disparities research!

The Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University invite applications for a post-doctoral fellow position in Biostatistics. We are seeking a highly motivated individual to develop novel statistical methods for missing data imputation and applications in health disparities research using national administrative data, with funding from Agency of Healthcare Research […]