Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.

This is an excellent presentation on what is wrong with science today. While the data itself may not lie, the interpretations can be made to say nearly anything the researcher wants it to.

EDIT: Due to format restrictions, the video is partially cut off. Here’s the link to the video on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng//id/1234

Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World

Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for — and increasingly controlled by — algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control.


Error in America: Of Antidepressants and Statistics

“It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you may even fool some of the people all of the time; But you can’t fool all the people all the time.” – President Abraham Lincoln

“There are more false claims made in the medical literature than anybody appreciates. There’s no question about that.” – biostatistician Steven Goodman of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

Through two stories and examples, this article portrays three morals: (1) Honesty in research and efficient allocation of resources makes for good public policy and respects citizen’s autonomy in their decisions regarding the acceptance or denial of care. (2) We should never underestimate the profit motive’s ability to interfere with what is in the best interests of the American people. (3) Keep an open mind and don’t be so quick to believe what you read, even if it is in JAMA or The New England Journal.

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“I’m no kin to the monkey” – The Attack on Evolution

Disclaimer: This post contains material on science. Science is built around theories, which are strongly supported by factual evidence. Everything in science should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

“New knowledge leads us to recognize in the theory of evolution more than a hypothesis.” – Pope John Paul II

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” – Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker

“So powerful is the illusion of design, it took humanity until the mid-19th century to realize that it is an illusion.” – New Scientist, September 17, 2005, pg. 33

One would think that in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced country the world has ever seen, that evolution would be universally accepted and that science would be have long prevailed over unprovable belief. However, science once again finds itself under attack and a theory supported by multitudes of corroborating evidence is being questioned based on ideas supported by no evidence at all. I’m talking, of course, about Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and the challenge mounted by Intelligent Design.

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iPhone Medical Software Review, Part 2

See Part 1 of the iPhone Medical Software Review

Well, I just finished up Internal Medicine, so I’ll go over a few of the software programs that I found useful during the rotation. These are programs for the iPhone but there may be similar versions for Droid or other platforms. This review will cover three programs: Lab Tests, MedCalc and ECG Interpret. Continue reading

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