(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Charles Jackson writes:

The attached item from JAMA, which I came across in my doctor’s waiting room, contains the statements:

Nineteen of 203 patients treated with statins and 10 of 217 patients treated with placebo met the study definition of myalgia (9.4% vs 4.6%. P = .054). This finding did not reach statistical significance, but it indicates a 94.6% probability that statins were responsible for the symptoms.

Disregarding the statistical issues involving NHST and posterior probability, I assume that the author means to say ” . . . that statins were responsible for the symptoms in about half of the treated patients.” I doubt if statins caused the myalgia in the untreated patients.

Yup. Statistics is hard, like basketball, or knitting. Even Jama editors can get these things horribly wrong.

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