Tag Archives: statistics

The Myth of an Opioid Prescription Crisis

The Myth of an Opioid Prescription Crisis – Oct 2017 – by Jeffrey A. Singer

…many have called for stricter regulations on prescription opioids. But are doctor-prescribed drugs truly the cause of the increase in overdoses?

At a Capitol Hill Briefing in June, Arizona surgeon and Cato senior fellow Jeffrey A. Singer argued that regulators, in their rush to interfere in the patient-doctor relationship, are actually causing more problems than they’re solving.

This is something pain patients know only too well, as our pain relieving drugs are taken away even while overdose rates are skyrocketing.  Continue reading

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Statistics mangled and misused even at Harvard

Working on addiction in the workplace – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing – June 2017 

I’m shocked at the garbled and misleading language used in this article published by the prestigious Harvard University.

When unaddressed, alcohol and other drug use disorders in the workplace are costly and dangerous for organizations, as well as individuals.

There are many good examples of successful programs and resources available that can help, and with over 22 million Americans currently in recovery from alcohol and other drug use disorders, creating a drug-free workplace is entirely possible.

If there were “many and good examples of successful programs” we wouldn’t be having an overdose crisis.   Continue reading

Harvard “Chocolate Study” is Junk Science

Harvard “Chocolate Study” is Junk Science  By Jamie Wells, M.D. — July 11, 2017

Somewhere along the way critical reasoning and a healthy dose of skepticism were supplanted by tacit acceptance as fact press releases and publications generated from academic institutions, those “perfectly” credentialed and arbitrarily deemed scientifically “pure.”

Yet, with the current competition today, it is no surprise corner-cutting and mastery of how to get published has evolved statistical tricks for those in the know to optimize their chances.

The latest example from Harvard will be discussed here. Since publishers are enabling these behaviors, arming the media and public with tools to separate the wheat from the chaff is essential.  Continue reading

Statistics and the Rise of Medical Fortunetellers

Statistics and the Rise of Medical Fortunetellers – Tex Heart Inst J. 2009 – free full-text PMC2801944

There was a time when the foretelling of future events was an undertaking of prophets, palm-readers, and weathermen.

In recent years, however, the medical profession seems to have embraced this activity with a great deal of enthusiasm.

A prime example is the use of the term “predicts” in the titles of journal articles dealing with human subjects.   Continue reading

The Importance of Understanding Research

The Importance of Understanding Research — Pain News Network

As people living in pain, our arguments and comments are more effective if we show that we know what we’re talking about.  

It may not change someone’s mind if they are opiophobic or dislike and distrust people in pain, but it’s important to try.

These are some of the terms the public and people in pain need to understand:   Continue reading

Population Statistics do NOT Apply to Individuals

Statistics and the Rise of Medical FortunetellersMichel Accad, MD – Tex Heart Inst J. 2009; free full-text PMC2801944

This article makes the increasingly forgotten, yet increasingly important, point that population statistics do NOT apply to individuals.

There was a time when the foretelling of future events was an undertaking of prophets, palm-readers, and weathermen. In recent years, however, the medical profession seems to have embraced this activity with a great deal of enthusiasm.

But hyperbole is also what comes to mind when one examines the claims that authors of such reports make.   Continue reading

How Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Work

How Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Work | American Council on Science and Health -By Chuck Dinerstein — June 23, 2017

…I thought perhaps this was a time to explain systematic reviews (SR) and their closely related kin, the meta-analysis (MA).

Keeping up with the latest thinking and knowledge, even for specialists, is challenging.

Textbooks, given the time necessary to write, edit and print are repositories for the accepted ‘dogma.’

Journals and conferences bring new information forward more quickly. But even then it is difficult for individuals to synthesize multiple articles and sources to ‘know’ what is both correct and useful.   Continue reading

Surrogate end points in clinical research: Hazardous

Surrogate end points in clinical research: hazardous to your health. – PubMed – NCBI – Obstet Gynecol. 2005 May

Surrogate end points in clinical research pose real danger.

A surrogate end point is an outcome measure, commonly a laboratory test, that substitutes for a clinical event of true importance.

Resistance to activated protein C, for example, has been used as a surrogate for venous thrombosis in women using oral contraceptives.

Other examples of inappropriate surrogate end points in contraception include the  Continue reading

How statistics are twisted to obscure public understanding

How statistics are twisted to obscure public understanding | Aeon Ideas – 11 July, 2016 – Jonathan R Goodman

In every industry, from education to healthcare to travel, the generation of quantitative data is considered important to maintain quality through competition.

Yet statistics rarely show what they see.

If you look at recent airline statistics, you’ll think that a far higher number of planes are arriving on schedule or early than ever before. But this appearance of improvement is deceptive.

Airlines have become experts at appearance management: by listing flight times as 20-30 percent longer than what the actual flight takes, flights that operate on a normal to slightly delayed schedule are still counted as arriving ‘early’ or ‘on time’. A study funded by the Federal Aviation Administration refers to the airline tactic as schedule buffering. Continue reading

Online Statistics Primer for Clinical Trials

Welcome to STAT 509: Clinical Trials –  Pennsylvania State University

Though this is an actual course, I found it useful as a quick reference when I wanted to understand some aspect of statistics being using in a study. Below, I’ve listed direct links to the 19 chapters/topics of statistics used in clinical trials.

This course is a survey of statistical methods and study design issues related to the testing of medical treatments.