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Posts Tagged "Meta-analysis"

Absolutely Maybe

Long Overdue: Is the Question of Induction of Labor and Cesarean Section Settled?

Cartoon of pregnancy etiquette for childbirth advice

I used to think there was no question about this. Induction was the prologue to a long, hard labor that often wouldn’t go well. And cesarean section was the (un)natural logical end of that. Simples. In the early 1970s, induction got out of hand - over half of labors in the UK were induced. Then came a [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Is a Baby Aspirin a Day the New Apple?

Cartoon of a shelf of aspirin

His first big clue came when people started hemorrhaging after chewing gum. Lawrence Craven did tonsil and adenoid surgery in his office. And it usually went well. But in the mid-1940s, “an alarming number of hemorrhages were evidenced in disturbing frequency,” he said. He figured it was the aspirin chewing gum people were using for [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Resveratrol Hangover: Waking Up After Hypothesis Bingeing

Cartoon of a tottering house of cards

Outbreaks of science myth-busting can be a bit of a puzzlement. The science behind a popular headline-maker might be a tottering house of cards, but it can be impressively sturdy nevertheless. New studies might re-arrange it a little here or there, but it doesn’t usually topple. Only those studies that reinforce the narrative seem to [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Science in the Abstract: Don’t Judge a Study by its Cover

Cartoon in a lab - You said to do an abstract

A competition for attention lies at the heart of the scientific enterprise. And the abstract is its “blurb.” A scientific abstract is a summary used to attract readers to an article and to get a piece of research accepted for a conference presentation. Other than the title, it’s the part of an article that is [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

A Viewer’s Guide to Mammography Evidence Ping-Pong

Cartoon of woman saying you bet I have questions

You could get a very sore neck watching all the claims and counter-claims about mammography zing back and forth. It’s like a lot of evidence ping-pong matches. There are teams with strongly held opinions at the table, smashing away at opposing arguments based on different interpretations of the same data. Meanwhile, women are being advised [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

The Disease Prevention Illusion: A Tragedy in Five Parts

Cartoon of an early bird catching no worms

Act I: An ounce of “prevention.” “Prevention is better than cure.” Aphorisms like this go back a long way. And most of our dramatic triumphs against disease come from prevention: clean water, making roads and workplaces safer, antiseptic routines in hospital, reducing smoking, immunization, stemming the spread of HIV. Many of our cultural superstitions and greatest [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

5 key things to know about meta-analysis

Cartoon - meta-analysis bookshop

Knowledge accumulates. But studies can get contradictory or misleading along the way. You can’t just do a head count: 3 studies saying yes minus 1 saying no ≠ thumbs up. The one that says “no” might outweigh the others in validity and power. You need a study of the studies if you want to be sure [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Inching closer towards a science base for justice

Photo of installation

In a courtroom, the full power of the state comes down on an individual. No one should have to face that on their own. A criminal defense lawyer was making this argument to me after a long day in the court we were both working in. I’d asked him, how could he defend that man? [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Emotional donating: The science and un-science of disaster response

Cartoon of woman stranded by flooding

Disasters are heart-wrenching. The scale of the distress and suffering can be hard to bear even when you’re just watching snug and safe in your unaffected lounge room. Those images send us rushing to donate in droves. That generosity can add up to hundreds of millions of dollars for a massive disaster. Let’s pause right [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Nutrient X prevents disease? Sorting the wheat from the bran

Cartoon of a disappointing treatment from promising larval stage

It started, as many issues do, because we didn’t get enough roughage in our diets. Before dietary fiber gained currency in the ‘70s as a way to protect against serious disease, people who believed we were eating ourselves into early graves weren’t taken very seriously. We’ll meet the interesting Irishman who turned that around shortly. [...]

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