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The China Study: fact or fallacy?

Alex Chernavsky writes:

I recently came across an interesting blog post, written by someone who is self-taught in statistics (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

I have no particular expertise in statistics, but her analysis looks impressive to me. I’d be very interested to find out the opinion of a professional statistician. Do you have any interest in blogging about this subject?

My (disappointing, I’m sure) reply: This indeed looks interesting. I don’t have the time/energy to look at it more right now, and it’s too far from any areas of my expertise for me to give any kind of quick informed opinion. It would be good for this sort of discussion to appear in a nutrition journal where the real experts could get at it. I expect there are some strong statisticians who work in that field, although I don’t really know for sure.

P.S. I suppose I really should try to learn more about this sort of thing, as it could well affect my life more than a lot of other subjects (from sports to sex ratios) that I’ve studied in more depth.

One Comment

  1. Dan says:

    I've seen that blog post before, and my opinion of it was very low. It estimates the relationship between diet and cause of death in a large sample of deaths.

    The blog author points out that meat consumption is not correlated with cancer-related among in a sample of deaths, and she implicitly interprets this as evidence that meat does not increase the hazard rate of cancer while alive.

    Because each person in the sample died from some cause, a proportional increase in hazards from all causes while alive will not show up in her analysis.

    On the whole, I don't think there's much to be learned from the diet-cause of death relationship unless you account for age of death… which she does not do.