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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

Exciting postdoc opening in spatial statistics at Michigan: Coccidioides is coming, and only you can stop it!

Jon Zelner is an collaborator who does great work on epidemiology using Bayesian methods, Stan, Mister P, etc. He’s hiring a postdoc, and it looks like a great opportunity: Epidemiological, ecological and environmental approaches to understand and predict Coccidioides emergence in California. One postdoctoral fellow is sought in the research group of Dr. Jon Zelner […]

How to “cut” using Stan, if you must

Frederic Bois writes: We had talked at some point about cutting inference in Stan (that is, for example, calibrating PK parameters in a PK/PD [pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic] model with PK data, then calibrating the PD parameters, with fixed, non updated, distributions for the PK parameters). Has that been implemented? (PK is pharmacokinetic and PD is pharmacodynamic.) I […]

Whassup with Why We Sleep?

Last month we reported on the book Why We Sleep, which had been dismantled in a long and detailed blog post by Alexey Guzey. A week later I looked again, and Walker had not responded to Guzey in any way. In the meantime, Why We Sleep has also been endorsed by O.G. software entrepreneur Bill […]

They’re looking to hire a Bayesian.

Ty Beal writes: The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is looking for an analyst with expertise in Bayesian methods. Could you share this post with qualified and interested candidates. The job is based in Washington DC.

“What if your side wins?”

Bill Harris writes: Thanks for posting my question the other day. Here’s another, somewhat related question. What if “your side” wins? What if, starting today, every analysis is done properly? Null hypothesis significance testing is something you read about only in history of statistics books. When binary decisions are made, they are supported with real […]

Causal inference, adjusting for 300 pre-treatment predictors

Linda Seebach points to this post by Scott Alexander and writes: A recent paper on increased risk of death from all causes (huge sample size) found none; it controlled for some 300 cofounders. Much previous research, also with large (though much smaller) sample sizes found very large increased risk, but used under 20 confounders. This […]

What happened to the hiccups?

Watching Sleepless in Seattle the other day, and at one point the cute kid in the movie gets into a conversation about hiccups, everybody has their own cure for the hiccups, etc. And it got me thinking: What ever happened to the hiccups? When I was a kid, the hiccups occupied a big part of […]

How to think about “medical reversals”?

Bill Harris points to this press release, “Almost 400 medical practices found ineffective in analysis of 3,000 studies,” and asks: The intent seems good; does the process seem good, too? For one thing, there is patient variation, and RCTs seem focused on medians or means. Right tails can be significant. This seems related to the […]

“Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world?”

Jon Baron points to this news article by Christopher Rowland: Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world? A team of researchers inside Pfizer made a startling find in 2015: The company’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis therapy Enbrel, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s […]

Controversies in vaping statistics, leading to a general discussion of dispute resolution in science

Episode 2 Brad Rodu writes: The Journal of the American Heart Association on June 5, 2019, published a bogus research article, “Electronic cigarette use and myocardial infarction among adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health [PATH],” by Dharma N. Bhatta and Stanton A. Glantz (here). Drs. Bhatta and Glantz used PATH Wave […]

“Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017”

A reporter pointed me to this article, Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017, by Steven Woolf and Heidi Schoomaker, and asked: Are the findings new? Can you subdivide data, like looking at small populations like middle aged people in Wyoming and have validity? Can you make valid inferences about causes and […]

“Why We Sleep” update: some thoughts while we wait for Matthew Walker to respond to Alexey Guzey’s criticisms

So. It’s been a week since Alexey Guzey posted his wonderfully-titled article, “Matthew Walker’s ‘Why We Sleep’ Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors.” I few days ago I reviewed Guzey’s post, and I summarized: I’ve not read Walker’s book and I don’t know anything about sleep research, so I won’t try to judge Guzey’s […]

What does a “statistically significant difference in mortality rates” mean when you’re trying to decide where to send your kid for heart surgery?

Keith Turner writes: I am not sure if you caught the big story in the New York Times last week about UNC’s pediatric heart surgery program, but part of the story made me interested to know if you had thoughts: Doctors were told that the [mortality] rate had improved in recent years, but the program […]

What’s the evidence on the effectiveness of psychotherapy?

Kyle Dirck points us to this article by John Sakaluk, Robyn Kilshaw, Alexander Williams, and Kathleen Rhyner in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, which begins: Empirically supported treatments (or therapies; ESTs) are the gold standard in therapeutic interventions for psychopathology. Based on a set of methodological and statistical criteria, the APA [American Psychological Association] has […]

My talk at Yale this Thursday

It’s the Quantitative Research Methods Workshop, 12:00-1:15 p.m. in Room A002 at ISPS, 77 Prospect Street Slamming the sham: A Bayesian model for adaptive adjustment with noisy control data Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University It is not always clear how to adjust for control data in causal inference, […]

Is Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors?

Asher Meir points to this hilarious post by Alexey Guzey entitled, Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors. Just to start with, the post has a wonderful descriptive title. And the laffs start right away: Positively Nabokovian, I’d say. I mean it. The above table of contents makes me want […]

What happens to your metabolism when you eat ultra-processed foods?

Daniel Lakeland writes: Hey, you wanted examples of people doing real science for the blog! Here’s a randomized controlled trial with a within-subjects crossover design, and completely controlled and monitored conditions, in which all food eaten by the subjects was created by the experimenters and measured carefully, and the participants spent several weeks in a […]

Afternoon decision fatigue

Paul Alper points us to this op-ed, “Don’t Visit Your Doctor in the Afternoon,” by Jeffrey Linder: According to the study, published in JAMA Network Open, doctors ordered fewer breast and colon cancer screenings for patients later in the day, compared to first thing in the morning. All the patients were due for screening, but […]

“Here’s an interesting story right in your sweet spot”

Jonathan Falk writes: Here’s an interesting story right in your sweet spot: Large effects from something whose possible effects couldn’t be that large? Check. Finding something in a sample of 1024 people that requires 34,000 to gain adequate power? Check. Misuse of p values? Check Science journalist hype? Check Searching for the cause of an […]

Jeff Leek: “Data science education as an economic and public health intervention – how statisticians can lead change in the world”

Jeff Leek from Johns Hopkins University is speaking in our statistics department seminar next week: Data science education as an economic and public health intervention – how statisticians can lead change in the world Time: 4:10pm Monday, October 7 Location: 903 School of Social Work Abstract: The data science revolution has led to massive new […]