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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

Horse-and-buggy era officially ends for survey research

Peter Enns writes: Given the various comments on your blog about evolving survey methods (e.g., Of buggy whips and moral hazards; or, Sympathy for the Aapor), I thought you might be interested that the Roper Center has updated its acquisitions policy and is now accepting non-probability samples and other methods. This is an exciting move […]

13 Reasons not to trust that claim that 13 Reasons Why increased youth suicide rates

A journalist writes: My eye was caught by this very popular story that broke yesterday — about a study that purported to find a 30 percent (!) increase in suicides, in kids 10-17, in the MONTH after a controversial show about suicide aired. And that increase apparently persisted for the rest of the year. It’s […]

“One should always beat a dead horse because the horse is never really dead”

Paul Alper came up with the above aphorism after reading this news article by Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas, which goes as follows: What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the […]

“How many years do we lose to the air we breathe?” Or not.

From this Washington Post article: But . . . wait a second. The University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute . . . what exactly is that? Let’s do a google, then we get to the relevant page. I’m concerned because this is the group that did this report, which featured this memorable graph: See this […]

“Appendix: Why we are publishing this here instead of as a letter to the editor in the journal”

David Allison points us to this letter he wrote with Cynthia Kroeger and Andrew Brown: Unsubstantiated conclusions in randomized controlled trial of binge eating program due to Differences in Nominal Significance (DINS) Error Cachelin et al. tested the effects of a culturally adapted, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based, guided self-help (CBTgsh) intervention on binge eating reduction . […]

Claims about excess road deaths on “4/20” don’t add up

Sam Harper writes: Since you’ve written about similar papers (that recent NRA study in NEJM, the birthday analysis) before and we linked to a few of your posts, I thought you might be interested in this recent blog post we wrote about a similar kind of study claiming that fatal motor vehicle crashes increase by 12% after 4:20pm […]

Parliamentary Constituency Factsheet for Indicators of Nutrition, Health and Development in India

S. V. Subramanian writes: In India, data on key developmental indicators that formulate policies and interventions are routinely available for the administrative units of districts but not for the political units of Parliamentary Constituencies (PC). Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha, each representing 543 PCs as per the 2014 India map, are the […]

What sort of identification do you get from panel data if effects are long-term? Air pollution and cognition example.

Don MacLeod writes: Perhaps you know this study which is being taken at face value in all the secondary reports: “Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals.” It’s surely alarming, but the reported effect of air pollution seems implausibly large, so it’s hard to be convinced of it by a correlational study alone, […]

“How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” . . . and still stays around even after it’s been retracted

Chuck Jackson points to two items of possible interest: Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions, by Richard Harris. Review here by Leonard Freedman. Retractions do not work very well, by Ken Cor and Gaurav Sood. This post by Tyler Cowen brought this paper to my attention. Here’s a […]

“Heckman curve” update: The data don’t seem to support the claim that human capital investments are most effective when targeted at younger ages.

David Rea and Tony Burton write: The Heckman Curve describes the rate of return to public investments in human capital for the disadvantaged as rapidly diminishing with age. Investments early in the life course are characterised as providing significantly higher rates of return compared to investments targeted at young people and adults. This paper uses […]

Impact of published research on behavior and avoidable fatalities

In a paper entitled, “Impact of published research on behavior and avoidable fatalities,” Addison Kramer, Alexandra Kirk, Faizaan Easton, and Bertram Hester write: There has long been speculation of an “informational backfire effect,” whereby the publication of questionable scientific claims can lead to behavioral changes that are counterproductive in the aggregate. Concerns of informational backfire […]

Surgeon promotes fraudulent research that kills people; his employer, a leading hospital, defends him and attacks whistleblowers. Business as usual.

Paul Alper writes: A couple of time at my suggestion, you’ve blogged about Paulo Macchiarini. Here is an update from Susan Perry in which she interviews the director of the Swedish documentary about Macchiarini: Indeed, Macchiarini made it sound as if his patients had recovered their health when, in fact, the synthetic tracheas he had […]

Mister P for surveys in epidemiology — using Stan!

Jon Zelner points us to this new article in the American Journal of Epidemiology, “Multilevel Regression and Poststratification: A Modelling Approach to Estimating Population Quantities From Highly Selected Survey Samples,” by Marnie Downes, Lyle Gurrin, Dallas English, Jane Pirkis, Dianne Currier, Matthew Spittal, and John Carlin, which begins: Large-scale population health studies face increasing difficulties […]

Postdoc in Chicago on statistical methods for evidence-based policy

Beth Tipton writes: The Institute for Policy Research and the Department of Statistics is seeking applicants for a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Larry Hedges and Dr. Elizabeth Tipton. This fellowship will be a part of a new center which focuses on the development of statistical methods for evidence-based policy. This includes research on methods for […]

Are male doctors better for male heart attack patients and female doctors better for female heart attack patients?

Brad Greenwood, Seth Carnahan, and Laura Huang write: A large body of medical research suggests that women are less likely than men to survive traumatic health episodes like acute myocardial infarctions. In this work, we posit that these difficulties may be partially explained, or exacerbated, by the gender match between the patient and the physician. […]

Raghuram Rajan: “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind”

A few months ago I receive a copy of the book, “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind,” by economist Raghuram Rajan. The topic is important and the book is full of interesting thoughts. It’s hard for me to evaluate Rajan’s economics and policy advice, so I’ll leave that to […]

Good news! Researchers respond to a correction by acknowledging it and not trying to dodge its implications

In a letter to the Journal of Nursing Research, Brown and Allison write: We question the conclusions that a health promotion model “was highly effective for gaining healthy life behaviors and the control of BMI of the participants” in an article recently published in The Journal of Nursing Research (Fidanci, Akbayrak, & Arslan, 2017). The […]

“Light Privilege? Skin Tone Stratification in Health among African Americans”

Kevin Lewis points us to this article by Taylor Hargrove, which states: Although skin color represents a particularly salient dimension of race, its consequences for health remains unclear. The author uses four waves of panel data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study and random-intercept multilevel models to address three research questions […]

Evidence distortion in clinical trials

After seeing our recent post, “Seeding trials”: medical marketing disguised as science, Till Bruckner sent me this message: I’ve been working on clinical trial transparency issues for over two years now, first for AllTrials and now for TranspariMED, and can assure you that this is only the tip of the iceberg. This report by Transparency […]

Don’t worry, the post will be coming . . . eventually

Jordan Anaya sends along a link and writes: Not sure if you’re planning on covering this, but I noticed this today. This could also maybe be another example of the bullshit asymmetry principle since the original paper has an altmetric of 1300 and I’m not sure the rebuttal will get as much attention. I replied […]