25 Nov 2006

theories and methods

I came across a couple of interesting pieces over the last couple of weeks that I thought I would share. The first thing is the What's In a Number 2006 Edition (320) of This American Life.

"Recently, the British medical journal The Lancet published an study which updated their estimate of the number of Iraqis who've died since the U.S. invasion. With that in mind, we revisit a show we did in 2005 about the earlier study published in Lancet estimating the number of Iraqi deaths. That study was mostly ignored in the U.S. Alex Blumberg revisits the original study and looks at the new one."

Good research, unpalatable results.

Now for bad research and really unpalatable results.

Navajo's have been getting sick for decades, and their sheep have also been getting sick but instead of looking at what the people and sheep might have in common, for years the medical researchers declared it to be a condition which they called "Navajo neuropathy". If they had been less blinkered in their approach they might have discovered eariler that the people and anmals were drinking uranium contaminated water from holes left by uranium mining in the 1950s.

You can read all about it here.

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