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Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics Paperback – November 30, 2008
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"A great reminder that . . . medical claims should always be evaluated by how they affect you and your current state of health."--"Tampa Tribune"
"Know Your Chances is an accessible and empowering text."--"Journal of Biosocial Science"
" Delightful and educational reading, simple enough for laypeople to understand yet academic enough to meet the needs of . . . . students."--L. Synovitz"Choice" (07/01/2009)
Delightful and educational reading, simple enough for laypeople to understand yet academic enough to meet the needs of . . . . students. --L. Synovitz"Choice" (07/01/2009)"
Top Customer Reviews
Often these messages are accompanied by numbers intended to cast an amplifying light onto the message or simply parroted by "health reporters" too lazy to interpret data into a less misleading or alarmist form.
Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics is a fast read, only 113 pages, that takes the reader step by step through what it takes to put these numbers into perspective. Why, for example is it true that the risk for being struck with colon cancer is both 5 out of 10000 and 1 out of 19. The difference between the two is time frame which is often omitted from the message.
Naked percentages are another abuse of numbers often appearing in messages. Activists will often use large percentages of small populations to suggest a big change while a corporation might use a small percentage of a large population to play down danger. Both are misleading but common.
The authors define risk in the first chapter and show the reader how to put it into perspective in chapters 2 and 3. This foundation is important as it shows how the oft cited lifetime population or annual population risk is not the same as individual risk. Lifestyle, family and medical history greatly influence individual risk.
The benefits of "health intervention" are tackled in chapters 4 and 5.Read more ›
The authors walk us through a discussion of risk with detailed examples and illustrations. Sure, it's a little simple, but not everyone has studied statistics. I've had graduate-level stats courses and I found the discussions helpful and enlightening.
What's really scary is that we're exposed to hype in news reports, which often seem to come directly from press releases of the pharmaceutical companies. I wonder how many MDs read these statistics without understanding what's going on.
Even worse, we're getting propaganda from medical institutions. The authors show a misleading flyer from the prestigious M.D. Anderson Health Center in Houston.
My favorite part of the book is the discussion on survival rates. If you're diagnosed early you may not get an extra day of life. You just live with the knowledge longer.
I can't help wondering if the millions of dollars we're spending on drugs claiming to lower cholesterol and reduce hypertension might not be better spent on healthy food, exercise and stress reduction. As the authors point out, we need evidence that people with better "numbers" really live longer and experience less suffering. We also need evidence that these drugs really contribute to meaningful outcomes, not just lower numbers.
Just this morning the Wall Street Journal solemnly reported a drug that promised to lower "prostate cancer risk" by 23% among a large sample of high-risk men. Following the guidelines of this book, it was easy to spot flaws.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book to help me understand the statistics that I'm constantly seeing in CDC, WHO and FDA public announcements. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stopshere
Great book if you need a review or reminder about statistics as they relate to medical studies and news. Read morePublished 15 months ago by C. Williams
This book is for those who look for the footnotes when reading about healthcare claims, who question the facts behind today's barrage of health risk messages. Read morePublished 15 months ago by P. J. Ryan
easy to read and understand. Used real life studies and statistics. Had mini quizzes to help you comprehend. Very interesting book.Published on April 5, 2014 by Mark A. Haddad
This book came in perfect condition, which is exactly what I expected from the description of it online. No surprises here.Published on October 2, 2013 by HELEN PHILLIPS
When you hear on the news that something will double your risk of getting some disease, do you ever wonder, "Double it from what to what?" It does make a difference. Read morePublished on February 6, 2013 by jiffy
All books by H. Gilbert Welch M.D. Should be read by everyone. I am a physician and I learned a great deal from these books. Also he has some YouTube videos. A warning...... Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by Trent A. Johnson
I lecture to doctor colleagues on some of the topics in this book and they often need reminding of the concepts. Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by Golfcrackerjack
When you consult with a doctor about anything, you should have this information at your fingertips.
I have a small medical library - it is the book friends borrow most often.