To Your Health: How to Understand What Research Tells Us about Risk

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Overview

The public is bombarded daily with reports about risk factors, many conflicting with each other, others accepted as "scientific truth" for awhile, then scientifically disproved, yet others questionable that later prove to be true. Physicians are faced with trying to make sense of those conflicting or questionable results in the scientific literature in order to guide their patients to the best possible decisions. The situation is not much easier for scientists who may waste years of their productive life, and considerable resources, basing their research efforts on what prove to be misleading earlier research findings. What this book does is to present, in non "academese" and with many examples from the general media and scientific journals, a guide to a critical reading of research reports, which, in turn, serves as a guide to researchers as to which approaches are likely to be regarded with raised eyebrows, and what they need to do to generate results that will be taken seriously. This stimulating and helpful book was written for informed consumers and physicians as well as for scientists evaluating the risk research literature or contemplating projects on risk research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Advance Praise for To Your Health

"This excellent explication of research risks, how to assess them and how to encourage better communication and understanding of the meaning and significance of research, is excellent material for researchers, consumers, patients, and families . . . The authors are articulate, clear and concise. It is most informative. I happily recommend it." —Herbert Pardes, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York

"Helena Kraemer and David Kupfer have earned profound respect in the scientific community for excellent contributions over many years. They are rigorous and wise. This book reflects these attributes and accomplishments in a lucid, penetrating exposition of risk factors and health. It deserves a wide audience because it clarifies matters of great practical importance and personal concern." —David A. Hamburg, M.D., Former President, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College New York, New York

"To Your Health is a clear, well-organized, and systematic guide to research about risk. This book can help clinician-scientists elevate the quality of their research and lead practitioners and the public to be more informed, measured, and critical interpreters of the results." —Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., President, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC

"If you've ever been confused over the conclusions of medical research and their implications for changing the style of the rest of your life, this is a book that can not only help you understand how compelling those conclusions really are, it may even help researchers and the media who report such research to actually get it right for a change . . . and it's a delightful read. Except for Section 3, intended for researchers, you won't need scientific training to wade right in." Floyd E. Bloom, M.D. Former Editor-in-Chief, Science Chairman, Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute La Jolla, California

"One of the most interesting books in recent years...A well-written effort, To Your Health will be valuable for undergraduates and scholars in disciplines like statistics, sociology of health, marketing, public opinion, in risk studies, experimental studies but also for general readers alike."—tatistical Methods in Medical Research

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195178708
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/25/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanford University

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Did We Write This Book?
Part I
The Basics of Risk
1. What is Risk?
2. What is a Risk Factor?
3. Are all Risk Factors Equal? Types of Risk Factors
4. How Do We Know if Something Is an Important Risk Factor? Statistical and Clinical Significance
5. How Do Risk Factors Work Together? Moderators, Mediators, and Other "Inter-actions"
Part II
How to Recognize Good and Bad Research
6. Who Was in the Study and Why Does that Matter? Sampling
7. What Is the Difference Between a Risk Factor and a Cause? Research Design
8. What Else Should We Pay Attention To? Reliability and Validity of Measurements and Diagnoses
Part III
Cutting-Edge Approaches
9. How Strong is the Risk Factor? Potency
10. How Do We Do a Moderator-Mediator Analysis?
11. How Do We Use Multiple Risk Factors? ROC Tree Methods
Part IV
Where Do We Go From Here?
12. Where Are We Now?
13. Making the Best of Good Studies
14. Hope for the Future
Appendix: Mathematical Demonstrations
Glossary

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