Posts Tagged ‘ Medicine ’

The plural of anecdote is not …

October 12, 2016
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The plural of anecdote is not …

One of my favorite statistics-related wisecracks is: the plural of anecdote is not data. In today's world, the saying should really say: the plural of anecdote is not BIG DATA. In class this week, we discussed a recent Letter to the Editor of top journal, New England Journal of Medicine, featuring a short analysis of weight data coming from a digital scale that, you guessed it, makes users consent to…

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The plural of anecdote is not …

October 12, 2016
By
The plural of anecdote is not …

One of my favorite statistics-related wisecracks is: the plural of anecdote is not data. In today's world, the saying should really say: the plural of anecdote is not BIG DATA. In class this week, we discussed a recent Letter to the Editor of top journal, New England Journal of Medicine, featuring a short analysis of weight data coming from a digital scale that, you guessed it, makes users consent to…

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Two quick hits: how bad data analysis harms our discourse

October 6, 2016
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I am traveling so have to make this brief. I will likely come back to these stories in the future to give a longer version of these comments. I want to react to two news items that came out in the past couple of days. First, Ben Stiller said that prostate cancer screening (the infamous PSA test) "saved his life". (link) So he is out there singing the praises of…

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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

September 19, 2016
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Depicting imbalance, straying from the standard chart

My friend Tonny M. sent me a tip to two pretty nice charts depicting the state of U.S. healthcare spending (link). The first shows U.S. as an outlier: This chart is a replica of the Lane Kenworthy chart, with some...

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GMO labeling is good science

August 18, 2016
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A GMO labeling law has arrived in the US, albeit one that has no teeth (link). For those who don't want to click on the link, the law is passed in haste to pre-empt a more stringent Vermont law. The federal law defines GMO narrowly, businesses do not need to put word labels on packages (they can, for example, provide an 800-number), and violaters will not be punished. One of…

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NBC has a problem with bar lengths

August 17, 2016
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NBC has a problem with bar lengths

Seems like reader Conor H. has found a pattern. He alerted us to the problem with bar lengths in the daily medals chart on NBC, which I blogged about the other day. Through twitter (@andyn), I was sent the following,...

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Tip of the day: don’t be Theranosed

May 23, 2016
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Theranos (v): to spin stories that appeal to data while not presenting any data To be Theranosed is to fall for scammers who tell stories appealing to data but do not present any actual data. This is worse than story time, in which the storyteller starts out with real data but veers off mid-stream into unsubstantiated froth, hoping you and I got carried away by the narrative flow. Theranos (n):…

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Sitting still against the myth that sitting kills

March 23, 2016
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The fad of standing while working may die hard but science is catching up to it. The idea that standing at work will make one healthier has always been a tough one to believe. It requires a series of premises: Using a standing desk increases the amount of standing Standing longer improves one's health The health improvement is measurable using a well-defined metric The incremental standing is of sufficient amount…

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Statbusters: standing may or may not stand a chance

December 7, 2015
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In our latest Statbusters column for the Daily Beast, we read the research behind the claim that "standing reduces odds of obesity". Especially at younger companies, it is trendy to work at standing desks because of findings like this. We find a variety of statistical issues calling for better studies. For example, the observational dataset used provides no clue as to whether sitting causes obesity or obesity leads to more…

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‘The Libertarian Republic’ author refers to Obamacare ‘spike’ in medical adminstrators before it even became law.

December 3, 2015
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‘The Libertarian Republic’ author refers to Obamacare ‘spike’ in medical adminstrators before it even became law.

I don't usually read 'The Libertarian Republic', but this article was shared by a friend on my Facebook feed. The author writes that the 'armies of bureaucrats' (i.e., medical administrators), necessitated by government regulation, are responsible for the rise in medical costs. The evidence presented is a figure that shows the growth of physicians and … Continue reading 'The Libertarian Republic' author refers to Obamacare 'spike' in medical adminstrators before…

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