A seemingly slight adjustment in a statistic, for teaching purposes, can significantly change a test’s calculated value….
She writes: “I believe that every educated person must at the very least understand how these interpreters of medical knowledge examine, or should examine, it to arrive at the conclusions.”
What’s clear is that depending on how investigators adjust or manipulate or clarify or frame or present data – you choose the verb – they might show differing results. This doesn’t just pertain to data on trauma and helicopters…
The new findings have no bearing on whether or not cancer screening is cost-effective or life-saving. What the study does suggest is that med school math requirements should be upped and rigorous, counter to the trend
Why bother, you might ask – wouldn’t it be easier to drop the subject?
“Make it go away,” sang Sheryl Crow on her radiation sessions.
I’ll answer as might a physician and board-certified oncologist who happens to be a BC survivor in her 40s: we need establish how often false positives lead, in current practice, to additional procedures and inappropriate treatment…These numbers matter. They’re essential to the claim that the risks of breast cancer screening outweigh the benefits.
“Well, well” says the convenience store clerk. “Back for another test?”
“I think the first one was defective. The plus sign looks more like a division symbol, so I remain unconvinced,” states Juno the pregnant teenager.
“Third test today, mama-bear,” notes the clerk.
…”There it is. The little pink plus sign is so unholy,” Juno responds.
She’s pregnant, clearly, and she knows she is.
(see clip from Juno the movie*)
Think of how a statistician might consider Juno’s predicament…
A colleague sent me an email about my math. You’re more or less right, he said, but you need to account for the false positives. I agree with him. (It’s true.) The problem is, among others, how to present those numbers in the press. Statistics don’t sell; still, an explanation is due. In my next […]