Survival analysis of chocolate in hospital
You may remember StatsChat’s criticism of data quality and analysis in paper about chocolate and Nobel Prizes from a leading medical journal. Another leading medical journal, BMJ, traditionally has a Christmas issue with not entirely serious papers, typically based on good-quality silly research. One of the past highlights was the systematic review of randomised trials of parachute use.
This year, there’s a survival analysis of chocolate in hospital wards. Survival analysis is the branch of statistics working with the time until an event happens. Often the event is death, hence the name ‘survival’, but it could be something else bad, such as a heart attack, or something good, such as finding a job. If you’re a chocolate, it’s being eaten.
The data are a good fit to a constant hazard of consumption, with a rate of just under 1%/minute. There isn’t any sign of strong heterogeneity — if some chocolates are preferred to others, the preference is either not strong enough or variable enough between people that no chocolates are safe.
Other papers in the Christmas issue include a semi-serious comparison of stem cell size and structure for mice and whales, and the finding that, in Dublin, people called Brady are more likely to have pacemaker treatment for bradycardia (presumably a multiple comparison issue)
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »