The Antidote

Counterspin for Health Care and Health News

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Special Halloween edition

A few scary thoughts for the season:

The fierce and formidable Ben Goldacre of the Guardian has a great post at Bad Science this week about the misuse of statistics in a murder trial. I need to be sure to keep this one for my files; it's a nice illustration of Bayes' Theorem.

I'm posting this creepy AP wire story, about a teenage girl who loses her breast to flesh-eating bacteria after a piercing, because its tabloid-like sensationalism speaks for itself.

Scary, but predictable: the new Pew survey showing that only 25% of people who get health information from the Internet usually or always check the sources. Yup, that's why we're here, folks.

The original article in the journal Engineering Economist apparently is not out yet, but the Washington Post presented one of those estimates that sounds like it was thought up by a bunch of engineers chowing down on leftover Halloween candy for lunch: the additional (on average) 24 lbs in the weight of a human between 1960 leads to the consumption of an extra billion gallons of gas per year. A very silly analysis all around; as the HealthBehaviorBlog put it,
We are not spending more on gasoline because we are fat, we are fat because we are spending more to drive places we used to walk.
Finally, Doctor H├ębert's Medical Gumbo hosts today's medical blogging grand rounds - in a spoof of Poe's The Raven, no less! I'm impressed...


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