News reports of the recently published Avandia study said that the study showed that the drug increased heart attack rates “significantly.” This is true. The problem is that the meaning of significantly as understood by the general public is very different from the meaning of significantly as understood by medical researchers.
To most of us, a significant increase in weight would mean “a large increase in weight.” But that’s not what it means to statisticians. In the latter case, it means “an increase in weight [large or small] that is statistically significant.”
Statistical significance tells you how likely it is that any differences you find in a study are likely to be due to random fluctuations rather than to the drug or other study intervention that the researchers are measuring. The usual cutoff point is 5%, meaning that there is a 5% chance that the differences were random. However, even the 5% value is not considered very good. Values below 1% are considered more ...
We often hear that suicide rates are highest during the holidays. I even heard a character in a Christmas TV movie warn about the risk during the last holiday season. Seems to make sense, in a way. After all, the holiday season even has its own syndrome - the holiday blues . Many people are stressed out, and for anyone who's alone and depressed, the contrast between the ideal of the holidays and reality can be hard to take. Here's the problem - the prevailing wisdom is wrong. In fact, we're not heading away from the most dangerous time of the year for suicide, we're heading towards it. Suicide rates are actually at their highest during late spring and early summer, and at their lowest around the holidays. There does appear to be a jump on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, which is thought to be due to the holiday season ending and harsh reality settling in. So why, despite all the stress (even Jimmy Stewart tried to throw himself off of a bridge), does the...
Despite the advances in research and the increased efforts to spread accurate information, there are still misconceptions about the pain of a migraine attack. Many people think that the pain is always severe. In reality, the pain can range from mild to severe, or be absent altogether. A migraine attack can occur without the headache phase. When this occurs, the migraine is described as "acephalgic" or "silent." You can read more about that in Acephalgic or Silent Migraine - The Basics .
Migraine pain is usually different from the pain of other headache disorders. It differs in location and other characteristics. Let's take a look at the characteristics of migraine pain as well as how it's measured.
Characteristics of migraine pain:
The pain is often, but not always, unilateral (one-sided).
It's often, but not always, pulsatile (throbbing).
It's usually aggravated by routine physical activity, such as climbing stairs or bending over.
It may also occur along the three ...
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