Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense
Today’s headline: Saturated Fat increases your risk of dying. Tomorrow’s headline: Saturated Fat protects you against cancer.
Sometimes medical research reporting can be puzzling and down right contradictory, especially when it’s distilled for public consumption. Dr Kendrick’s book is both about interpreting data, and about how it gets misused for promoting agendas.
For example mortality from condition x is 2 in 1,000,000 a year. A drug is marketed which reduces this to 1 in 1,000,000. A 50% reduction in mortality – impressive, no? Or looked at another way 0.0001% in absolute risk which is less impressive. And as the Dr says, overall your risk of dying is 100% – sometime, somewhen, or something. So the published research headline will be the former not the later, when in reality the later is more relevant. This is the type of thing the Dr is driving at.
So a really useful, non technical book aimed at getting behind the numbers and jargon, and enabling the reader to apply a dose of caution or cynicism to the headlines.
Worth a read if you are interested in health and wellbeing. Its a book I found useful to help me see beyond the headlines.