It’s a quant world now: doctor’s office edition

Doctors Test Tools to Predict Your Odds of a Disease Dr. McGinn believes using technology to help diagnose and treat patients can reduce the large number of unnecessary tests doctors order and antibiotics they prescribe by ruling out certain diseases. It also could expedite the appropriate care for patients by giving doctors grounds to treat…

Why most reporting on medical research is crap

This spring, the journal “International Archives of Medicine” published a delicious new study: According to researchers at Germany’s Institute of Diet and Health, people who ate dark chocolate while dieting lost more weight. The media coverage was instantaneous and jubilant: “Scientists say eating chocolate can help you lose weight” read a headline in the Irish Examiner. “Excellent News: Chocolate…

Why most medical research is crap

“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. We were also asked not to take photographs of slides. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially remain unquoted, since the forthcoming UK election meant…

If you have ALS, what is a statistically significant result?

For people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which attacks the body’s motor neurons and renders a person unable to move, swallow or breathe, the search for an effective treatment has been a crushing disappointment. The only drug available for the disease, approved two decades ago, typically extends life just a few months. Then in the fall,…