Tag: #research

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…

Non-Biostatistician, Non-Epidemiologist Tries to Complain About Biostats and Epi

Don’t you love it when people who don’t know better think that they know better, and then they end up making fools of themselves? There is a particularly interesting anti-vaccine man by the name of Brian S. Hooker. He has a doctorate in biochemical engineering, according to his Wikipedia page. Maybe you remember BS Hooker from his foray into epidemiology,…

Another day, another bad anti-vaccine study

Let’s say that you think food A caused disease B. To test your theory, you get cases of people who got B and controls of people who did not get B. Then you compare the odds of exposure to A. The ratio between the odds is called the odds ratio, and anything significantly different from 1.0 means there’s some sort…

aedes-albopictus-female-mosquito

Where do you begin to understand Zika?

It’s all the rage these days to get worked-up about Zika. Just like last year with Ebola, this year we’re freaking out over a disease from “over there” coming “over here” and hurting Americans. Also, the observed association between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly is scaring the crap out of people. (It’s really scaring the far-right, anti-abortion people because…

Data, institutions, and troublemakers

Two very interesting things happened in close temporal proximity to each other this week. They are related, and they really opened my eyes to the kind of world that is public health. They also taught me a lot about institutional memory. Actually, three things happened this week, but the third has its roots in the 1940s.

The relative risk of population-based studies

Most studies carried out in the research of diseases and medications is carried out at the population level. But the findings of such studies may not always apply to the individual in front of you. So you need to take a few things into account.

A different kind of research

If you had a few thousands dollars and the support of a world-renowned institution, what would you do research on? Football? Sexy Jewish theater?

Physics and Surveys

So there’s this concept in physics which states that the very act of observing something has an effect on that thing. For example, to see a molecule, we need to hit it with electrons, and those electrons cause a change in that molecule. The same can be said of larger things. If you go to Africa to observe a pride…

A tag-team presentation on statistics and research studies

My lovely wife and I delivered a presentation (more like a chat) today at the annual conference of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. It was a one-hour presentation on the use (and abuse) of research studies in mental health settings. Coming from an infectious disease background, I felt a little like a fish (not out of water, but) in a different kind of water.

So I did my best to explain some basic biostatistics stuff and how research studies are designed and conducted and why some studies are better than others. As we all learned from the Wakefield fraud, a case series is not necessarily a good design to draw conclusions about causality. Because the practice of mental health counseling is moving more and more towards demanding that all interventions (or as many as possible) be “evidence-based,” I thought it was important to present to the participants what we mean by “evidence” and where that evidence comes from.

There were a few attendees at the beginning, but people trickled down as time went by. This was definitely a different kind of audience than what I’m used to. You’ll see that there was a lot of back-and-forth with a few of the participants, and there were plenty of interruptions. I kind of liked it, actually.

So why “tag-team”? Because my lovely wife introduced the talk and also contributed to the presentation with her perspective on the subject. She is finishing up her master’s degree in mental health counseling. She’s one smart cookie, my wife… Mostly because she married me.

The sound recording of the presentation follows, and you can download a PDF of the presentation by clicking here.

Featured image credit: Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter / CC BY-NC