Archive for health care

abortion data, France vs. USA

Posted in Kids, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2020 by xi'an

As Le Monde pointed out at a recent report on 2019 abortions in France from Direction de la recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques (Drees), showing an consistent rise in the number of abortions in France since 1995, with a rate of 15.6 abortions for 1000 women and the number around a third of the live births that year, I started wondering at the corresponding figures in the USA, given the much more restrictive conditions there. Judging from this on-line report by the Guttmacher Institute, the overall 2017 figures are not so different in both countries: while the abortion rate fell to 13.5‰, and the abortion/life birth ratio to 22%, the recent spike in abortion restrictions for most US States did not seem to impact considerably the rates, even though this is a nationwide average, hiding state disparities (like a 35% drop in Iowa or Alabama [and a 62% drop in Delaware, despite no change in the number of clinics or in the legislation]). In addition, France did not apparently made conditions more difficult recently (most abortions occur locally and the abortion rate is inversely correlated with income) and French (official) figures include off-clinic drug-induced abortions, while the Guttmacher institute census does not. The incoming (hasty) replacement of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the US Supreme Court may alas induce a dramatic turn in these figures if a clear anti-abortion majority emerges…

new news about ISBA2020

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2020 by xi'an

Dear ISBA Members,

As you probably are all aware now that there is a coronavirus epidemic going around in China, impacting most severely Hubei province but all provinces in China have been affected to various extents. Expectedly there are concerns among the community regarding attending the ISBA World Meeting in China in late June.

We are keeping a close eye on the development. While at this point we are cautiously optimistic that the epidemic will not last till June, both as a result of the extraordinary measure that China is taking to contain the spread, and as cold-like coronaviruses generally don’t spread effectively as temperature rises in spring. However, we want to stay cautious and keep options open, and will take the necessary actions to ensure the health and safety of our community.

As of now, after discussing with the ISBA executives and the local organizers, we have decided to

1. Extend the Early Registration Deadline from April 15 to May 15, allowing the prospective participants to have more time to observe the development.

2. Keep the submission for Contributed Posters open till the new Early Registration Deadline May 15.

3. Keep you all updated should there be any changes in the plan of the meeting. In particular, if in the next couple of months the epidemic is not contained, and thus there will be health risk to the community in participating in the meeting, we will consider alternatives such as postponing the World Meeting.

If you were considering submitting a Contributed Talk and/or Travel award application by the deadline Jan 31, please still do so as the Scientific Committee will need sufficient time to evaluate those submissions.

Thank you all again for your support to the meeting and ISBA.

We hope that the epidemic will be contained quickly and we will still be able to see you all in Kunming!

Best Regards,
Li Ma, on behalf of the ISBA2020 Scientific Committee

Statistics and Health Care Fraud & Measuring Crime [ASA book reviews]

Posted in Books, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2019 by xi'an

From the recently started ASA books series on statistical reasoning in science and society (of which I already reviewed a sequel to The Lady tasting Tea), a short book, Statistics and Health Care Fraud, I read at the doctor while waiting for my appointment, with no chances of cheating! While making me realise that there is a significant amount of health care fraud in the US, of which I had never though of before (!), with possibly specific statistical features to the problem, besides the use of extreme value theory, I did not find me insight there on the techniques used to detect these frauds, besides the accumulation of Florida and Texas examples. As  such this is a very light introduction to the topic, whose intended audience of choice remains unclear to me. It is stopping short of making a case for statistics and modelling against more machine-learning options. And does not seem to mention false positives… That is, the inevitable occurrence of some doctors or hospitals being above the median costs! (A point I remember David Spiegelhalter making a long while ago, during a memorable French statistical meeting in Pau.) The book also illustrates the use of a free auditing software called Rat-stats for multistage sampling, which apparently does not go beyond selecting claims at random according to their amount. Without learning from past data. (I also wonder if the criminals can reduce the chances of being caught by using this software.)

A second book on the “same” topic!, Measuring Crime, I read, not waiting at the police station, but while flying to Venezia. As indicated by the title, this is about measuring crime, with a lot of emphasis on surveys and census and the potential measurement errors at different levels of surveying or censusing… Again very little on statistical methodology, apart from questioning the data, the mode of surveying, crossing different sources, and establishing the impact of the way questions are stated, but also little on bias and the impact of policing and preventing AIs, as discussed in Weapons of Math Destruction and in some of Kristin Lum’s papers.Except for the almost obligatory reference to Minority Report. The book also concludes on an history chapter centred at Edith Abbott setting the bases for serious crime data collection in the 1920’s.

[And the usual disclaimer applies, namely that this bicephalic review is likely to appear later in CHANCE, in my book reviews column.]

absurd graph [if relevant warning]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Wines with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2018 by xi'an

A pretty silly graph opposing countries with an overwhelming majority of non-Muslims and countries with an overwhelming majority of Muslims in terms of alcohol consumption. Surprise, surprise! And not incorporating the average amount or anything useful… In a Guardian article reporting on a Lancet paper about the lack of health benefit from drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol. Although, as pointed out by David Spiegelhalter at the bottom of the article, an increased risk of 0.5% associated with one unit of alcohol a day [half a pint]  , as opposed to 7% for two units [a pint!], should not get occasional drinkers too worried:  “Come to think of it, there is no safe level of living, but nobody would recommend abstention.”

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2018 by xi'an

“David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, recently summed up the “Trumpian world-view” writing, “Trump takes every relationship that has historically been based on affection, loyalty, trust and reciprocity and turned it into a relationship based on competition, self-interest, suspicion and efforts to establish dominance.” NYT, June 14

“Donald Trump has dismissed concerns about the widely condemned human rights record of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, praising him as a “tough guy”, a “smart guy” and a “great negotiator”.” The Guardian, June 14

“Clinics that call themselves crisis pregnancy centers are not obliged to tell women when state aid may be available to obtain an abortion, according to a US supreme court ruling that represents a blow to pro-choice groups (…) All three of the court’s female members dissented.” The Guardian, June 27

“A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the (…) United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly. Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes. Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations. The intensity of the administration’s opposition to the breast-feeding resolution stunned public health officials and foreign diplomats, who described it as a marked contrast to the Obama administration.” NYT, July 8

“President Trump on Tuesday pardoned a pair of Oregon cattle ranchers who had been serving out sentences for arson on federal land (…) The pardons undo an Obama administration appeal to impose longer sentences for the Hammonds and show that, at least in this case, the Trump administration is siding with ranchers in the battle over federal lands.” NYT, July 10

“President Trump stood next to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday and publicly challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence (…) “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said in a statement. “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” ” NYT, July 16

“The Interior Department on Thursday proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development.” NYT, July 20