Tag: #evidence

Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.

See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).

However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.

In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.

What we should have been doing all along: Translational Epidemiology

When I was applying to get into the DrPH program, the interviewer — who would later become my academic advisor — asked me for my thoughts on Translational Epidemiology. Translational Epidemiology (TE) is the use of epidemiology in different stages between identifying a population-level problem to identifying a solution for it, to evaluating what that problem was. It is presented…

Zika, Zika, Zika! (An update)

Just a quick update on Zika: A case-control study in French Polynesia has found a strong association between Zika infection and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). That is, the proportion of cases of GBS who had previous Zika infection (confirmed by serological analyses) was significantly larger than the proportion of people without GBS who had previous Zika infection. Of course, a case-control…

Putting it all together in class

I had a really, really good Epidemiological Methods class today. It was really good because we put all of the concepts we learned over this term (an eight-week term) and looked at the epidemiological evidence for HPV causing cervical cancer and for the HPV vaccine preventing HPV infection and, thus, cervical cancer. I found myself really interested in the class…

The lowest form of evidence

When we are presented with a public health problem, we epidemiologists are always obligated to ask for the data. “The plural of anecdote is not data,” we say with glee. Although the saying is somewhat controversial with some people, I like to think that it is fairly accurate when it comes to public health (and medical) issues. For example, if…

Perception, reality, and all that other stuff

If you are the kind of person that likes to study human behavior, like me, and you have never been through an airport on a busy day, I highly suggest that you do so. You will get to see all sorts of interesting people and the things that they do to get through security and on to their gates and…