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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

“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 […]

Hurricanes vs. Himmicanes

The story’s on the sister blog and I quote liberally from Jeremy Freese, who wrote: The authors have issued a statement that argues against some criticisms of their study that others have offered. These are irrelevant to the above observations, as I [Freese] am taking everything about the measurement and model specification at their word–my […]

A whole fleet of gremlins: Looking more carefully at Richard Tol’s twice-corrected paper, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change”

We had a discussion the other day of a paper, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change,” by economist Richard Tol. The paper came to my attention after I saw a notice from Adam Marcus that it was recently revised because of data errors. But after looking at the paper more carefully, I see a bunch […]

Bill Easterly vs. Jeff Sachs: What percentage of the recipients didn’t use the free malaria bed nets in Zambia?

I came across this from Jeff Sachs: [Bill Easterly in his 2006 book] went on to write that “a study of a program to hand out free [malaria bed] nets in Zambia to people … found that 70 percent of the recipients didn’t use the nets.” Yet this particular study, which was conducted by the […]

What property is important in a risk prediction model? Discrimination or calibration?

Sanjay Kaul writes: I am sure you must be aware of the recent controversy ignited by the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines that were released last month. They have been the subject of several newspaper articles and blogs, most of them missing the thrust of the guidelines. There is much […]

“The graph clearly shows that mammography adds virtually nothing to survival and if anything, decreases survival (and increases cost and provides unnecessary treatment)”

Paul Alper writes: You recently posted on graphs and how to convey information.  I don’t believe you have ever posted anything on this dynamite randomized clinical trial of 90,000 (!!) 40-59 year-old women over a 25-year period (also !!). The graphs below are figures 2, 3 and 4 respectively, of http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g366 The control was physical […]

Seth Roberts

I met Seth back in the early 1990s when we were both professors at the University of California. He sometimes came to the statistics department seminar and we got to talking about various things; in particular we shared an interest in statistical graphics. Much of my work in this direction eventually went toward the use […]

Ticket to Baaaaarf

A link from the comments here took me to the wonderfully named Barfblog and a report by Don Schaffner on some reporting. First, the background: A university in England issued a press release saying that “Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is […]