Posts Tagged ‘ Medicine ’

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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Binge Reading Gelman

June 23, 2014
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Binge Reading Gelman

As others binge watch Netflix TV, I binge read Gelman posts, while riding a train with no wifi and a dying laptop battery. (This entry was written two weeks ago.) Andrew Gelman is statistics’ most prolific blogger. Gelman-binging has become a necessity since I have not managed to keep up with his accelerated posting schedule. Earlier this year, he began publishing previews of future posts, one week in advance, and…

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What the DST researchers actually found

June 16, 2014
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What the DST researchers actually found

To add to my prior post, having now read the published paper on the effect of DST on heart attacks, I can confirm that I disagree with the way the publicist hired by the journal messaged the research conclusion. And some of the fault lies with the researchers themselves who appear to have encouraged the exaggerated claim. Here is the summary of the research as written up by the researchers…

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Another PR effort to scare you into clicking

June 11, 2014
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Another PR effort to scare you into clicking

From Andrew Gelman's blog, I learned about a paper that makes the claim that daylight savings time could kill you. (Andrew links to this abstract, which is from a poster presentation at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, and later published as a supplement in the ACC Journal; one of his readers found the published paper.) There is also a press release sponsored by the Journal with the…

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