May 22, 2014

Briefly

Health and evidence edition

  • Evidently Cochrane, a blog with non-technical explanations of Cochrane Collaboration review results
  • Design process for a graphic illustrating the impact of motorbike helmet laws. ¬†In contrast to bicycle helmet laws, laws for motorbikes do have a visible effect on death statistics
  • Stuff has quite a good story on alcohol in New Zealand.
  • The British Association of Dermatologists responds to ‘drinkable sunscreen’.
  • 3News piece on Auckland research into extracts of the lingzhi mushroom. Nice to see local science, and the story was reasonably balanced, with Shaun Holt pointing out that this is not even approaching being anywhere near evidence that drinking¬†the stuff would do more good than harm.
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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 »

Comments

  • avatar

    Great to see that response from the British Association of Dermatologists, thanks for sharing it. I’ve emailed the ASA to add it as an addendum to the complaint I submitted last night.

    I’ve also sent it to @ONENewsNZ on Twitter, hopefully they’ll read it and recognise the mistake they made in their report on the product.

    4 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Megan Pledger

    It’s just a pity that instead of doing something original, Stuff pretty much took the tone and content of kiwiblog.

    I guess they got sick of reporting about Collins, Banks, Dot Com, brain fades et al.

    4 months ago Reply

    • avatar
      Thomas Lumley

      Eh. I’ll take unoriginal over actively misleading any day.

      And it’s not as bad as last week when they used a photo of Siouxsie Wiles’ & Rebecca Klee’s bioluminescent squid sculptures without attribution.

      4 months ago Reply

      • avatar

        And when that was pointed out, they replaced it with a different image of a squid taken by Rob Stewart from NIWA. Also without attribution.

        4 months ago Reply

      • avatar
        Megan Pledger

        Comparing across countries doesn’t tell how healthy NZs consumption is, it just tells how much we consume compared to others. If it’s relatively high, medium or low, it shines no light on whether it’s a safe consumption.

        Since per capita consumption isn’t age adjusted it makes cross country comparisons pretty meaningless anyway. A
        country that’s top heavy in young adults will have higher per capita consumption compared to a country that’s top heavy in old people even if they have the same consumption patterns in every age group because the young typically drink more than the old.

        For those two reasons, the theme of the article/blog post, that NZers alcohol consumption is not such a big deal because of our position on the per capita consumption leaderboard, is misleading.

        4 months ago Reply

        • avatar
          Thomas Lumley

          In principle, but in fact the other countries named in the story (Australia, Canada, and Belarus) have broadly similar age structures to New Zealand. (I was a bit surprised by Belarus)

          4 months ago

        • avatar
          Megan Pledger

          I don’t know about Belarus having the same age structures compared to NZ. There’s a picture here for Belarus and here for NZ.

          For those aged over 65, males make up 31% of the Belarus population, in NZ it’s 46%. Although for the “per capita” population (15+ year old), 65+ in both countries are close to 17% of that pop.

          ~~
          The Australian version is very interesting too. It’s easy to spot which age groups are moving from NZ to Oz. It does suggest that Oz’s pcc maybe higher, in part, due to population factors rather than solely on consumption factors.

          4 months ago

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