Although the title is ostensibly sinister, Darrell Huff’s “How to Lie with Statistics” is anything but. In medicine, we are faced with complicated statistics and “statisticulators” on a daily basis. And as the field of data science and statistics grows, so too does the complexity of these “statisticulations”. A statisticulation, defined by Huff, is “misinforming people with the use of statistical material” and, unfortunately, this is becoming all too common in the profit-driven world of medicine. With carefully crafted “non-inferiority” trials and overpowered industry-funded superiority trials cropping up in the literature, it would easy to give up on statistics altogether; but it’s imperative that we don’t. The key is harnessing the ability to identify the subtleties that statisticians use to misguide. As Huff eloquently states in his book, “The crooks already know these tricks; honest men [and women] must learn them in self-defense.”
Over the last several years, ALiEM has recruited a team of regular contributors, each with their own individual passions within the entire breadth of Emergency Medicine. ALiEM has provided these individuals with a global platform capable of carrying their message to a target audience of thousands of regular subscribers. Furthermore, the evolution of a rigorous pre-publication Expert Peer Review process has helped ensure that the content is especially polished and scientifically accurate.
Today marks a new day. The overwhelming success of the website and editorial process has led us to what we feel is the next step for this academic blog and online medical education: peer-reviewed community content submission.
While working your shift in a small community ED, you overhear that EMS is on their way to you with a five-year-old child in respiratory distress after eating a peanut butter sandwich. Anticipating the patient to be in anaphylactic shock, you and the senior resident begin planning the course of action. The resident asks, “how much do you think a five-year-old weighs?” While you begin fumbling for your Broselow tape, a nurse seated near you confidently responds, “That’s easy, just count your fingers! One, three, five. Ten, fifteen, twenty! The child weighs approximately twenty kilograms!”.