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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index

Chris Famighetti points us to this page which links to an interactive visualization. There are some problems with the mapping software—when I clicked through, it showed a little map of the western part of the U.S., accompanied by huge swathes of Canada and the Pacific Ocean—and I haven’t taken a look at the methodology. But […]

A whole fleet of Wansinks: is “evidence-based design” a pseudoscience that’s supporting a trillion-dollar industry?

Following a recent post that mentioned

The next Lancet retraction? [“Subcortical brain volume differences in participants with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults”]

[cat picture] Someone who prefers to remain anonymous asks for my thoughts on this post by Michael Corrigan and Robert Whitaker, “Lancet Psychiatry Needs to Retract the ADHD-Enigma Study: Authors’ conclusion that individuals with ADHD have smaller brains is belied by their own data,” which begins: Lancet Psychiatry, a UK-based medical journal, recently published a […]

Drug-funded profs push drugs

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: I just read a long ProPublica article that I think your blog commenters might be interested in. It’s from February, but was linked to by the Mad Biologist today (https://mikethemadbiologist.com/). Here is a link to the article: https://www.propublica.org/article/big-pharma-quietly-enlists-leading-professors-to-justify-1000-per-day-drugs In short, it’s about a group of professors (mainly economists) […]

I wanna be ablated

[cat picture] Mark Dooris writes: I am senior staff cardiologist from Australia. I attach a paper that was presented at our journal club some time ago. It concerned me at the time. I send it as I suspect you collect similar papers. You may indeed already be aware of this paper. I raised my concerns […]

No evidence that providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California decreases traffic safety

[cat picture] So. A reporter asked me what I thought of this article, “Providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California improves traffic safety,” by Hans Lueders, Jens Hainmueller, and Duncan Lawrence. It’s embargoed! so I’m not supposed to post anything on it until now. From the abstract: We examine the short-term effects of . […]

Aggregate age-adjusted trends in death rates for non-Hispanic whites and minorities in the U.S.

Following up on our recent Slate article, Jonathan Auerbach made some graphs of mortality rate trends by sex, ethnicity, and age group, aggregating over the entire country. Earlier we’d graphed the trends within each state but there was so much going on there, it was hard to see the big picture. All our graphs are […]

Easier-to-download graphs of age-adjusted mortality trends by sex, ethnicity, and age group

Jonathan Auerbach and I recently created graphs of smoothed age-adjusted mortality trends from 1999-2014 for: – 50 states – men and women – non-hispanic whites, blacks, and hispanics – age categories 0-1, 1-4, 5-14, 15-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, 75-84. We posted about this on the blog and also wrote an article for Slate […]

Mortality rate trends by age, ethnicity, sex, and state (link fixed)

There continues to be a lot of discussion on the purported increase in mortality rates among middle-aged white people in America. Actually an increase among women and not much change among men but you don’t hear so much about this as it contradicts the “struggling white men” story that we hear so much about in […]

This could be a big deal: the overuse of psychotropic medications for advanced Alzheimer’s patients

I received the following email, entitled “A research lead (potentially bigger than the opioid epidemic,” from someone who wishes to remain anonymous: My research lead is related to the use of psychotropic medications in Alzheimer’s patients. I should note that strong cautions have already been issued with respect to the use of these medications in […]

Whassup, Pace investigators? You’re still hiding your data. C’mon dudes, loosen up. We’re getting chronic fatigue waiting for you already!

[cat picture] James Coyne writes: For those of you who have not heard of the struggle for release of the data from the publicly funded PACE trial of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome, you can access my [Coyne’s] initial call for release of […]

Cage match: Null-hypothesis-significance-testing meets incrementalism. Nobody comes out alive.

[cat picture] It goes like this. Null-hypothesis-significance-testing (NHST) only works when you have enough accuracy that you can confidently reject the null hypothesis. You get this accuracy from a large sample of measurements with low bias and low variance. But you also need a large effect size. Or, at least, a large effect size, compared […]

Lady in the Mirror

In the context of a report from a drug study, Stephen Senn writes: The bare facts they established are the following: The International Headache Society recommends the outcome of being pain free two hours after taking a medicine. The outcome of being pain free or having only mild pain at two hours was reported by […]

Cloak and dagger

[cat picture] Elan B. writes: I saw this JAMA Pediatrics article [by Julia Raifman, Ellen Moscoe, and S. Bryn Austin] getting a lot of press for claiming that LGBT suicide attempts went down 14% after gay marriage was legalized. The heart of the study is comparing suicide attempt rates (in last 12 months) before and after exposure — gay […]

Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys? (my talk at CDC tomorrow)

My talk this Thursday at CDC, Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12:00 noon, 2400 Century Center, Room 1015C: Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys? Response rates in public opinion polls have been steadily declining for more than half a century and are currently heading toward the 0% mark. […]

Blind Spot

X pointed me to this news article reporting an increase in death rate among young adults in the United States: Selon une enquête publiée le 26 janvier par la revue scientifique The Lancet, le taux de mortalité des jeunes Américains âgés de 25 à 35 ans a connu une progression entre 1999 et 2014, alors […]

Krzysztof Sakrejda speaks in NYC on Bayesian hierarchical survival-type model for Dengue infection

Daniel writes: Krzysztof Sakrejda is giving a cool talk next Tues 5:30-7pm downtown on a survival model for Dengue infection using Stan. If you’re interested, please register asap. Google is asking for the names for security by tomorrow morning.

The Mannequin

[cat picture] Jonathan Falk points to this article, “Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study,” and writes: Drink up! N=10, no effect on thing you’re aiming at, p value result on a few brain measurements (out of?), […]

Research connects overpublication during national sporting events to science-journalism problems

[cat picture] Ivan Oransky pointed me to a delightful science-based press release, “One’s ability to make money develops before birth”: Researchers from the Higher School of Economics have shown how the level of perinatal testosterone, the sex hormone, impacts a person’s earnings in life. Prior research confirms that many skills and successes are linked to […]

Pizzagate, or the curious incident of the researcher in response to people pointing out 150 errors in four of his papers

There are a bunch of things about this story that just don’t make a lot of sense to me. For those who haven’t been following the blog recently, here’s the quick backstory: Brian Wansink is a Cornell University business school professor and self-described “world-renowned eating behavior expert for over 25 years.” It’s come out that […]