Bad Stats + Bad Sense = Bad Science

In any given day, I much prefer to read the straightforward result of an experiment (tissue culture, animal studies, clinical trials) than the latest bewildering association discovered through statistical acrobatics with epidemiological and registry data.

University of Graz Study Finds Vegetarians Are Unhealthier, More Mentally Disturbed Than Meat-Lovers

It’s no secret that many vegetarians are also radical environmentalists and climate alarmists who are obsessed and hysterical about the planet burning up. Perhaps the University of Graz in Austria has discovered one reason why: their “unhealthy” diet.

Bad Sense: it seems even common cow sense is not very commonplace. Take this study that got carnivores gloating and got the goat of vegetarians. Instead of postulating that vegetarianism somehow causes ill health and anxiety, one can simply understand how ill health and vexing over it may cause someone to consider adopting healthier eating habits, hence the apparent association.

Four Japanese researchers published an analysis on cholesterol guidelines and statin drugs in the April 2015 edition of the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.…

Bad Stats: choosing to correlate only all cause mortality with cholesterol level (which demonstrated an inverse relationship) while dismissing the direct correlation with cardiovascular mortality is simply playing to the wanton living lobby.
Obviously, the low cholesterol cohort is dying from other causes other than cardiovascular causes (everyone must die from something), ranging from cancer, infections, accidents, etc. The cachexia in cancer is linked (causally) to low cholesterol.
What is repeatedly and extensively proven by far better (experimental) science is that statins reduce cardiovascular events and deaths in the high cardiovascular risk population (hypertensive, diabetic, dyslipidaemic, previous heart attack, post-stenting). Period. No multiple regression analysis. No irrational or mystical mechanism of action.
Telling people to stop their necessary medicines based on such bad stats is highly irresponsible, if not reprehensible.

The hazard ratio (HR) is the main, and often the only, effect measure reported in many epidemiologic studies. For dichotomous, non–time-varying exposures, the HR is defined as the hazard in the exposed groups divided by the hazard in the…

This is a tough read, but if one seeks to discern the sensationalistic headlines that are periodically churned out from epidemiological studies, one should at least understand the limitations in the complex statistics that seek to adjust for selection bias and confounding variables inherent in these studies.

Bias, Confounding and Effect Modification | STAT 507

Consider the figure below. If the true value is the center of the target, the measured responses in the first instance may be considered reliable, precise or as having negligible random error, but all the responses missed the true value by a wide margin. A biased estimate has been obtained. In contr…

STAT 507: Epidemiological Research Methods | Statistics

The course examines the methods used in epidemiologic research, including the design of epidemiologic studies and the collection and analysis of epidemiological data. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of human disease and health outcomes, and the application of methods t…