Sophisticated statistics in medical research can be hard to translate to layman's terms, and when they are, these common misinterpretations can be downright misleading.
1. Odds ratios don't express relative risk.
In 1999, media reports resulting from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine wrongly suggested that black patients and women were 40 percent less likely than white patients and men, respectively, to undergo cardiac catheterization.
The study's authors had used odds ratios to describe the significance of their findings—a common practice among statistically sophisticated researchers—which showed that black patients and women were definitely less likely to be referred for invasive procedures than white patients and men, but not how much less likely.
Continue reading Two common ways you might misinterpret medical research
Despite relatively few strong research studies supporting methodologies for improving adherence to medications for patients with heart failure, Medtronic's recent press release suggests their cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) implants might do the trick.
Medtronic accounced results of a retrospective analysis of administrative claims data of more than 4,500 patients with heart failure at the 2016 Heart Failure Society of America Scientific Meeting, Monday.
The analysis found that the number of patients "fully compliant" to a regimen of guideline-recommended medications "nearly doubled" at twelve months following CRT implants compared to those who did not receive implants.
Continue reading Improving adherence to medications for heart failure: Medtronic says their CRT does it