Absolute risk versus relative risk: Why you need to know the difference

  Six years ago, the airwaves were alive with Lipitor ads. Lipitor, a statin and the largest selling drug in the world at that time, was being challenged by other less expensive statins that had gone off patent, so Pfizer, the manufacturer, was blanketing the media in an effort to keep sales humming. Pfizer had […]

The China Study vs the China study

..man, proud man, Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d… From Measure for Measure by Wm Shakespeare The web has been alive with commentary the past few weeks since Denise Minger lobbed her first cannonball of a critique across the bow of The China Study, the vessel T. Colin […]

The adherer effect

  As if trying to pull meaning out of the medical literature weren’t difficult enough as it is, a new study demonstrates yet another obstacle to easy understanding: the adherer effect. We’ve all seen the headlines.  Statins improve bone health.  Statins prevent cancer.  Statins make us smarter.  Low-fat diets improve longevity.  All these headlines and […]

Meat and mortality

The news is abuzz with reports of the latest study to come out showing that eating meat, especially red meat, kills us off before our time.  (You can read some of the reporting here, here, here and here.)  Google shows 547 new articles about this study. Although this study is totally worthless from a causality […]

More statin madness

I’ve had a number of people email me about a new study appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine purportedly showing that statins really do provide benefit to those who take them regularly.  As you can see from the heading of an email piece I pasted above, even Medscape is all over this article and […]

Observational studies

A day almost never passes without someone sending a comment my way about some recent study, plucked by the media from the hundreds published that same day, showing that low-carb diets cause brain fog or decreased longevity or cancer of some type or any number of conditions any of us would rather not have.  These […]

The fraud of intention-to-treat analysis

`I quite agree with you,’ said the Duchess; `and the moral of that is–Be what you would seem to be–or if you’d like it put more simply–Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had […]

Average doesn’t tell the whole story

Virtually all of the results presented in medical studies are displayed as ‘average’ or ‘mean’ values. I’m sure everyone knows how to come up with an average or mean (the two are synonymous) value for a group of data points is to add them and divide the sum by the number of data points analyzed. […]

Relative risk

I’m throwing up this post on the concept of relative risk as a time saver. I’m going to be doing some posting soon in which relative risk plays a role as it has in many of the postings in the past. Instead of taking time in each post to explain relative risk, I will simply […]