HOME >> MEDICINE >> NEWS
What you should know about statistics

Poor understanding of statistics causes many to view numbers cynically. And news reports of confusing, seemingly contradictory figures worsen the problem. Jessica Utts, a UC Davis statistics professor, thinks changing college statistics courses could help citizens better understand statistics-oriented news.

Calculation-heavy courses teach t-tests, ANOVAs, and other statistical procedures. But students don't learn to spot common errors in statistical statements -- a problem when they need to read statistical results and interpret them for their own lives, said Utts.

In a recent paper published in the journal American Statistician, Utts describes seven common ways that statistics are misinterpreted, in news reports and elsewhere. The most insidious mistake, she said, is confusion about cause-and-effect relationships.

"Often, an observational study will link two variables where you'd like to think that there's a cause-and-effect relationship," said Utts. But based on the way these studies are done, there is no justification for concluding that cause-and-effect relationships exist, she said.

For example, a recent study found higher suicide rates among women who have had breast implants. "People might like to conclude that breast implants are causing suicides," Utts said. But the study design doesn't support that result. To avoid confusion when interpreting observational studies, you have to include possible alternate explanations, Utts said.

"For instance, women's self image could confound the study on breast implants and suicide," she said.

Confusing the terms "average" and "normal" is another common pitfall. "We're always hearing that 'the normal temperature for today is 80 degrees,'" Utts said. "But that's the average of temperatures recorded on this date in the past." Including a range of likely values with reported averages -- for example, "temperatures on this date have varied from 64 to 91 degrees" -- is more useful
'"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
20-Oct-2003


Page: 1 2

Related medicine news :

1. HIV testing should be routine part of primary health care for sexually active
2. Opponents of needle-exchange programs should think about their message to drug users
3. Public policy should address the social factors behind ill health
4. Ethical discussion should come before research
5. Age shouldnt be a factor in kidney transplantation
6. Pregnant women should exercise to keep depression away
7. HIV testing should no longer be accorded any special status
8. Branding practices in rural India should be banned
9. Diagnosis of prions in patients should utilize novel strategy, team says
10. How often should women get mammograms?
11. Women should be advised not to drink alcohol in pregnancy

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:9/3/2020)... ... September 03, 2020 , ... ... be the focus of Fall 2020 Virtual Conference, a two-day virtual event for ... Enterprise Imaging & Beyond" is the follow-up to AuntMinnie.com's successful virtual event in ...
(Date:9/3/2020)... ... September 03, 2020 , ... International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) recently ... lot controller. This advanced LED wireless dimming controller, along with the previously IDA ... night sky against light pollution. Leo Smith, the Northeast Regional Director for IDA ...
(Date:9/1/2020)... ... September 01, 2020 , ... ... completed $3 million convertible note financing, which will be used to accelerate the ... funds from this financing, the company will continue to expand its customer base ...
(Date:9/1/2020)... Fla. (PRWEB) , ... September 01, 2020 , ... ... Reconstructive Surgeon with specialty fellowship training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, ... MD – the only female-owned premier boutique plastic surgery and aesthetic practice in ...
(Date:8/31/2020)... ... August 31, 2020 , ... Just found out your dear friend has cancer? , It’s ... friend or family member shares their diagnosis. Once the shock wears off, the questions and ... thing? What are the best ways to help? Words are failing me. I’m scared. I ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/31/2020)... ... ... you live in New York City you will always pay more for these two things: ... supply and demand, but are plastic surgeons in New York worth the premium prices that ... make the four-hour trip to have expert aesthetic treatments by some of the best doctors ...
(Date:8/28/2020)... ... 28, 2020 , ... Dr. Raheleh Sarbaziha has been reimagining ... approach. Armed with her qualifications from Ross University School of Medicine and the ... human body with the nation and world. With a fellowship in Integrative Medicine ...
(Date:8/27/2020)... ... August 27, 2020 , ... Trella Health, the leading ... provider of cloud CRM, marketing automation, and contact center solutions for senior living ... integration of Trella’s performance intelligence data and insights into Enquire’s CRM solution to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
Cached News: