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Mr Epidemiology

No, I'm not a skin doctor

Month

March 2012

Interesting reads: March 25th – 31st, 2012

Always be Batman

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already. There are lots of awesome stories today, so please check them out:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

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Interesting reads: March 18th – 24th, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

  • Professor Hope Jahren from the University of Hawaii had a professional photo shoot done. As a photographer, I love this idea, and think it’s a great way of making science more interesting.
  • Dr Yoni Freedhoff raised a ruckus last week about Disney’s new attraction called “Habit Heroes.” Within a few weeks, they had shut down the attraction and are remaking it. Way to go Yoni!
  • A great quote from Keanu Reeves about analog vs digital film making. It has an interesting parallel with research and running statistics.
  • Dr Arya Sharma wrote a post about varsity athletics forming a barrier to tackling obesity. There was an interesting discussion on his blog about it, including this response from Dr Kristi Adamo.
  • Finally, friend of the blog Live It Active came up with an outdoor workout for me!
Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: March 11th – 17th, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Guest Post: What determines health?

Mr Epidemiology: Today, I’m welcoming Lindsay Kobayashi to the blog. You can find out more about Lindsay at the end of this post.

Health inequity is a global and a local problem.

As epidemiologists, we are concerned with uncovering the factors in populations that determine who gets sick, who stays healthy, who lives, and who dies. Human life is inherently social, and looking toward our societies and geography can help explain who is healthy or sick, and why. “Location, location, location” is a mantra that rings true with respect to life expectancy. In Canada and the United States, men can expect to live to 79 or 76 years, respectively, while women can expect to live over 80 years (1). The story is similar for most wealthy and developed countries. By contrast, take Afghanistan or any one of several sub-Saharan African countries, where a baby born today could expect to live only until his or her mid-40s or 50s(1).

Temporarily setting aside biologic limitations on health (a loaded issue for another blog post), human-made health limitations clearly exist in our world. A person’s life chances greatly depend on where he or she is born and lives and some people do not reach the same level of health achievable by others. Inequities in life expectancy exist within countries as well: Canada-wide, women residing the poorest neighbourhoods live two years less on average than women residing in the richest neighbourhoods, and this difference is four years for men(2). This striking inequity brings us back to the original question: What determines health?

Continue reading “Guest Post: What determines health?”

#StopKONY: Or, the importance of critically evaluating data in the information age

EDIT 14/03/12: As pointed out in the comments, the accuracy of the PubMed’s database needs to be considered when analyzing retractions. Thanks L. Wynholds!

Unless you’ve completely been avoiding all social media platforms this week, you’ve likely come across the #StopKony/#Kony2012 campaign. In short, a group called Invisible Children created the video above that was meant to make Joseph Kony infamous, and encourage governments and people to act against him. By raising awareness, you can make a difference, the filmmakers argue.

The video went up, and almost immediately went viral. It was uploaded on March 4th, 2012. By March 5th, it had over 25 million views. As of March 11th i.e. one week, it has over 70 million views.

What I find most interesting though, is that almost immediately after the video went up, people started digging. And suddenly, this campaign was being questioned and criticized. Sites such as Visible Children found  questionable information about the campaign, and it wasn’t long before the media started asking questions; Jezebel, NY Daily News, CTV, The Huffington Post (which featured comments from Ugandans) and The Atlantic all penned articles ranging from slamming Invisible Children (Jezebel) to presenting both sides (CTV). People were critical, they dug up information, and they presented facts to back up their criticisms.

Scientists are familiar with this process: It’s peer review.

Continue reading “#StopKONY: Or, the importance of critically evaluating data in the information age”

Interesting reads: March 4th – 10th, 2012

The weather here has been a little unpredictable lately. It was -22C on Monday, 10C on Wednesday, then 10mm of rain and 1cm of snow on Friday.

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Romance is not a romantic comedy: The importance of good exposure measurement

If you live in Kingston, you may have come across this headline:

Kingston, ON is the most romantic city in Canada

Wonderful you think – after all, Kingston does have that small city charm, with lots of historical buildings, quaint little cafes and restaurants as well as being right on the water. Lots of romantic movie potential, where big city Sandra Bullock moves to a small town only to fall for lovable country mouse Ryan Reynolds.

It's like if you had this movie set in Kingston, instead of Alaska! .... which I wouldn't know because I've never seen it *cough*

And then you read the article more closely, and determine how they measured the “romanticness” of a city:

The online retailer bases its list by comparing sales data of romance novels, sex and relationship books, romantic comedy DVDs and CDs by Canadian crooner Michael Buble since Jan. 1 on a per capita basis in cities with more than 80,000 residents.

Wait, what?

Continue reading “Romance is not a romantic comedy: The importance of good exposure measurement”

Interesting reads: February 26th – March 3rd, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

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