Posts Tagged ‘ Medicine ’

Composite ranking and numbersense

February 25, 2015
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Composite ranking and numbersense

Chapter 1 of Numbersense (link)uses the example of U.S. News ranking of law schools to explore the national pastime of ranking almost anything. Since there is no objective standard for the "correct" ranking, it is pointless to complain about "arbitrary" weighting and so on. Every replacement has its own assumptions. A more productive path forward is to understand how the composite ranking is created, and shine a light on the…

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There are no easy charts

February 5, 2015
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There are no easy charts

Every chart, even if the dataset is small, deserves care. Long-time reader zbicyclist submits the following, which illustrates this point well. The following comments are by zbicyclist: This is from http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/ -- from the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney...

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Losing sleep over schedules

January 5, 2015
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Losing sleep over schedules

Fan of the blog, John H., made a JunkCharts-style post about a chart that has been picked as a "Best of" for 2014 by Fast Company (link). I agree with him. It seems more fit to be on the "Worst...

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Three good charts

November 21, 2014
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Alberto Cairo, Stephen McDaniel and I were asked about our "favorite" data visualization at the Qlik Conference this week. Stephen wrote up our answers here.

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Financial and statistical incentives to over-diagnose and over-treat

November 10, 2014
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Nice article in the New York Times about the "overdiagnosis" problem in cancer screening. The particular case is thyroid cancer in South Korea. There are a number of things about any form of screening tests that one should always bear in mind: Death rate is measured as the number of deaths divided by the number of people with the disease. The latter number increases with better diagnosis techniques. Better diagnosis…

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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

October 9, 2014
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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

The New York Times Magazine has a pretty good piece about the use of OCCAM data to solve medical questions, like diagnosis and drug selection. I'm happy that it paints a balanced picture of both the promise and the pitfalls. Here are some thoughts in my head as I read this piece: Small samples coupled with small effects pose a design problem in traditional clinical trials. The subjects of the…

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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

September 15, 2014
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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

Alberto Cairo discussed a graphic by the New York Times on the slowing growth of Medicare spending (link). The chart on the top is published, depicting the quite dramatic flattening of the growth in average spending over the last years--average...

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A small step for interactivity

July 9, 2014
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A small step for interactivity

Alberto links to a nice Propublica chart on average annual spend per dialysis patient on ambulances by state. (link to chart and article) It's a nice small-multiples setup with two tabs, one showing the states in order of descending spend...

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Light entertainment: famous people, sleep, publication bias

June 26, 2014
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Light entertainment: famous people, sleep, publication bias

Bernard L. tipped us about this "infographic": The chart is missing a title. The arcs present "sleep schedules" for the named people. The "data" comes from a book. I wonder about the accuracy of such data. Also note the inherent...

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How to read Big Data studies

June 25, 2014
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This is part 3 of my response to Gelman's post about the DST/heart attacks study. The previous parts are here and here. One of the keys of vetting any Big Data/OCCAM study is taking note of the decisions made by the researchers in conducting the analysis. Most of these decisions involve subjective adjustments or unverifiable assumptions. Not that either of those things are inherently bad - indeed, any analysis one…

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