Medical statistics


“Shrinkette”:http://shrinkette.blogspot.com has some good thoughts on how to “cope with the statistics your doctors throw at you”:http://shrinkette.blogspot.com/2005/04/doc-what-are-my-chances.html. If you think it’s hard, the doctors think it is even harder because in between seeing patients they have to keep up on all the crap that comes up, and, believe me, the crap comes at a very fast pace.

My job is to walk the tightrope between medicine and numbers, and believe me, for even someone trained to do the job, it is a very difficult task. I don’t even know how I would process the information on a product information insert if I didn’t have the statistical training to distinguish between a point estimate and a p-value. However, if I could recommend a publication to everybody in America who interfaces with civil life, I’d recommend “??How to Lie with Statistics??”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393310728/qid=1114548307/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-4708277-5668614?v=glance&s=books&n=507846. Not only does it teach you a lot of the statistical tricks that can be used to deceive you, it teaches you a little about how to think about statistics critically. So even if you can’t tell a confidence interval from a regression, you can at least know when to stop someone and ask critical questions.

And the articles Shrinkette links to seem to have pretty good explanations, too.

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