For lecture on 3 June 2021
Know Your Chances< Back to search results
- Format Texts
- Language/s English
- Target Audience Researchers, Self-directed learning
- EBM Stage 0 - Why EBM?
- Duration >15 mins
- Difficulty Introductory
This resource has been evaluated rigorously
Key Concepts addressed
- Too good to be true
- Based on faulty logic
- 2-3a Verbal descriptions of treatment effects can be misleading
- 2-3g Statistical significance is not the same as importance
- 2-3b Relative measures of effects can be misleading
- 2-3d Fair comparisons with few people or outcome events can be misleading
- 2-3e Subgroup analyses may be misleading
- 2-3f Confidence intervals should be reported
- 1-3a Beware of conflicting interests
- 1-3b Anecdotes are unreliable evidence
- 1-2a People often recover from illness without treatment
- 1-2b Explanations about how treatments work can be wrong
- 1-2e Comparisons are needed to identify treatment effects
- 1-2f Consider all of the relevant fair comparisons
- 1-2g Common practice is not always evidence-based
- 1-2j Earlier is not necessarily better
- 2-1a Comparison groups should be similar
- 2-1b Indirect comparisons of treatments can be misleading
- 2-1d People should not know which treatment they get
- 2-1h Peoples' outcomes should be analyzed in their original groups
- 1-1a Treatments can harm
- 1-1b Dramatic treatment effects are rare
- 1-1c We can rarely be certain about the effects of treatments
- 3-2a Do the outcomes measured matter to you?
- 3-2c Are the treatments practical in your setting?
The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by teaching you about the numbers behind the messages—the medical statistics on which the claims are based. The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to help you put your health concerns in perspective. By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information—if any—that remains.
Copyright © 2008, The Regents of the University of California.
Browse the contents:
- What This Book is About
- Part 1. What Is My Risk?
- Part 2. Can I Reduce My Risk?
- Part 3. Does Risk Reduction Have Downsides?
- Part 4. Developing a Healthy Skepticism
- Extra Help
Every day we are faced with news stories, ads, and public service announcements that describe health threats and suggest ways we can protect ourselves. It’s impossible to watch television, open a magazine, read a newspaper, or go online without being bombarded by messages about the dangers we face.
Many of the messages are intended to be scary, warning us that we are surrounded by danger and hinting that everything we do or neglect to do brings us one step closer to cancer, heart disease, and death. Other messages are intended to be full of hope, reassuring us that technological miracles and breakthrough drugs can save us all. And many messages do both: they use fear to make us feel vulnerable and then provide some hope by telling us what we can do (or buy) to lower our risk. In addition, as you may suspect, a great many of these messages are wildly exaggerated: many of the risks we hear about are really not so big, and the benefits of many of the miraculous breakthroughs are often pretty small.
As a result, we are often left misinformed and confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This resource has been formally evaluated in two randomised controlled trials, with each trial testing knowledge of participants from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Knowledge of the content was assessed before and after using pre- and post-testing, and results showed that reading the book had a positive effect on peoples’ knowledge and ability to answer questions.
|Woloshin S, Schwartz L, Welch G H. The effectiveness of a primer to help people understanding risk: two randomised trials in distinct populations. Ann Intern Med ; 146:256-265.|
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