Lessons & Questions on: Health


Distribution of Risk: J-Curves

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My new favorite term from epidemiology: J-Curve. Distribution matters, even with something as shades-of-grey as risk. For instance, yhere’s a lot of things that increase your mortality in a more-or-less linear way. The more you smoke, the greater your all-cause mortality risk, for example. This isn’t to say you increase your chance of death by […]

Longitudinal Analysis: SIDS and Prone Sleeping in Norway

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This is an amazing chart — sad in one way, but uplifting in another, because it shows how stats-informed public policy can make a difference. The chart represents the incidence of SIDS (“crib death”) in Norway plotted out against the rise and fall of parents that put their children to sleep on their stomach. (Which […]


Surrogate Outcomes

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In medicine, researchers often rely on surrogate outcomes (also called surrogate endpoints). Take, for example, something like heart health. We know that a good ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol is a predictor of heart health and increased longevity. So we come up with a pill that changes that ratio for the better. And […]


Activity: Hidden Sugar Infographic

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From http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4543/14-MindBlowing-Facts-About-Sugar-Infographic.html   First, a comment — note how nicely their sources are laid out. You don’t know what goes to what, but at least you have a starting point. Now, questions: 1. Source: Who is OnlineSchools? What’s their stake in this issue? Did they collect the data, or did someone else? 2. Look at comparison […]

Daily Infographic   A New Infographic Every Day   Data Visualization  Information Design and Infographics

3 + C: Alcohol Consumption

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Three things it tells me:  1. The vast majority of alcohol consumers have had at least one hangover. 2. Less than half of students have weekly hangovers. 3. I think that the second and third bars are exclusive and of a common whole, which means that 40% of college students have at least one hangover […]

Report  83 percent of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare   The Daily Caller

Activity: Doctor Poll on Current Attitudes

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Read the following poll on the attitudes of working doctors: http://www.doctorsandpatients.org/images/files/DPMA_SurveyResults.pdf 1. Refresh your understanding of non-response bias. Is the response rate sufficient to exclude non-response bias? Why or why not? 2. Response bias (as opposed to non-response bias) deals with the tendency of people to answer poll questions in a way to achieve some […]


Activity: Labeling Restaurant Food

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After nutritional labeling went into effect in New York City, a large sample of people were polled about how the label affected their behavior — 27% reported the new labels influenced their behavior, and 10% of people reported purchasing fewer calories as a result. However, when researchers looked at the average amount of calories purchased […]