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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

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 […]

Looking for Bayesian expertise in India, for the purpose of analysis of sarcoma trials

Prakash Nayak writes: I work as a musculoskeletal oncologist (surgeon) in Mumbai, India and am keen on sarcoma research. Sarcomas are rare disorders, and conventional frequentist analysis falls short of providing meaningful results for clinical application. I am thus keen on applying Bayesian analysis to a lot of trials performed with small numbers in this […]

An old discussion of food deserts

I happened to be reading an old comment thread from 2012 (follow the link from here) and came across this amusing exchange: Perhaps this is the paper Jonathan was talking about? Here’s more from the thread: Anyway, I don’t have anything to add right now, I just thought it was an interesting discussion.

The world’s most popular languages that the Mac documentation hasn’t been translated into

I was updating my Mac and noticed the following: Lots of obscure European languages there. That got me wondering: what’s the least obscure language not on the above list? Igbo? Swahili? Or maybe Tagalog? I did a quick google and found this list of languages by number of native speakers. Once you see the list, […]

More on US health care overkill

Paul Alper writes: You recently posted my moving and widening the goalposts contention. In it, I mentioned “how diagnoses increase markedly while deaths are flatlined” indicating that we are being overdiagnosed and overtreated. Above are 5 frightening graphs which illustrate the phenomenon. Defenders of the system might (ludicrously) contend that it is precisely the aggressive […]

Widening the goalposts in medical trials

Paul Alper writes: I do not believe your blog has ever dealt with the following phenomenon which might be called “(widening) moving the goalposts.” Drug companies and the medical world at large often create powerful drugs and procedures for people who are far (many standard deviations) from the norm (mean) and via randomized clinical trials, […]

“Questioning The Lancet, PLOS, And Other Surveys On Iraqi Deaths, An Interview With Univ. of London Professor Michael Spagat”

Mike Spagat points to this interview, which, he writes, covers themes that are discussed on the blog such as wrong ideas that don’t die, peer review and the statistics of conflict deaths. I agree. It’s good stuff. Here are some of the things that Spagat says (he’s being interviewed by Joel Wing): In fact, the […]