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Which treatment


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17 replies to this topic

#11 jim

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:09 PM

Perhaps this will help clarify things. Suppose we find the average height of college men is greater than it was 60 years ago, the average height of college women is also greater, but the average height of college students is less than it was 60 years ago. Would this suggest that people are taller or shorter than they were 60 years ago.
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#12 superprismatic

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:25 PM

Arrr, mesmells a rat................Methinks Simpson's Paradox is rearing its ugly head!
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#13 blubber

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:56 AM

1. b
2. a
3. b
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#14 blubber

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:57 AM

oops
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#15 blubber

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:58 AM

1. b
2. a
3. b
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#16 plasmid

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:03 AM

Ah, the dangers of interpreting medical research. The way the OP is posed - looking at data in the hospital over the past month and seeing how patients who got treatment A did compared to those who got treatment B - is what's called a retrospective study. These are generally considered to be the least reliable studies for comparing the effects of two different treatments, and the biggest confounding factor in interpreting them tends to be that the physicians aren't randomly assigning patients to different therapies (although there are certainly other confounders).

For example: does having ICU level of care actually do people any good? If the survival of hospitalized patients who go to the ICU is 60%, and the survival of those who don't go to the ICU is 95%, a very simple minded interpretation would be that ICUs are no good and are actually harming patients. Of course, what's really going on is that doctors are sending patients to the ICU only if they look like they're in serious trouble and have a higher chance of dying in the first place. If you really wanted to find out if ICUs work, you'd have to do a randomized study - say anytime a doctor wants to send someone to the ICU, the study coordinator flips a coin and then either allows or prohibits sending them to the unit. (Of course, then you have to get informed consent from patients who are willing to sign up for a study that will randomize them to having or not having ICU availability; good luck getting people to sign up.)

In this case, the docs are more likely to give treatment A to a woman and B to a man, and within each gender patients who got treatment B were more likely to recover. If you ask the docs why they're doing that, they might be able to give you a good reason. (Maybe B is a better treatment for motion sickness but causes excessive facial hair growth?) So to answer the question posed of which treatment to select for the hospital - there's not enough information presented.
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#17 Huruey

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:34 AM

A) Medicine B
B) Medicine B
C) Medicine B

Medicine A has a success rate of 20% for men, 67% for women, and 43% if the gender is unknown.
Medicine B has a success rate of 24% for men, 75% for women, and 49% if the gender is unknown.

Edited by Huruey, 05 September 2012 - 05:43 AM.

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#18 Rox53

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:04 AM

I would say that the sample size of women is too small to make an accurate assessment, and that more female patients need to be assessed before a useful result can be found.
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