And I will certainly look into the Stanford online statistics course. Thanks for the tip!

]]>So much for SPPIN (SPecific Positive, rule IN) and SNNOUT (SeNsitive Negative, rule OUT). In the instructive example above shows *some* value of a positive test, by improving the odds by 66x, at the expense of FN>TP. While a negative test improves the already-unlikely odds of excluding the disease, the clinical scenario would have to justify (risk of missing?) getting a test adds next to nothing to playing the odds.

It was instructive, if depressing, to create a simple spreadsheet to simulate various scenarios based on pre-test probability.

I recently read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Among the central points is the ginormous extent to which human intuition is absolutely horrible when it comes to statistics. Our deliberative side can compensate, but will take the “lazy” approach when possible. Hence, the p-value “Seal of Approach” produces confidence even when the stated conclusion is XKCD-worthy.

FWIW, for the last 2 years Stanford University has offered a free on-line course in statistics in early June. Based on what I saw, it looked worthwhile. I had to bow out to study for a recert exam. Hopefully they will offer it again next year, as I am now officially a “dropout”.

Thx to Allie G for the NNT site; it was also well worth the visit.

]]>We often hide some more or less obscure references in our posts, so we’re always happy when someone gets them. And XKCD is so over the top geeky that just the geekiness in itself makes me smile sometimes. I’ll be very disappointed if the creator of XKCD doesn’t look like an older version of the stereotyped geeks from an 80′s high school comedy.

Anyway, the thinking behind Bayes statistics is proving more and more useful the more I apply it. It helps build some common sense into statistics and relating it to my everyday clinical work.

]]>…yet this explanation is one of the shortest and most clear that I have seen and should be required reading for any clinician.

Great writing, good topic…very useful. Keep it up!

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