Thursday, January 30, 2014

Data. Data. Data.

"Data. Data. Data." he cried impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay." ----Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," as quoted in Wikiquote.

In today's round-up of FSU researchers in the news, there is a link to an article in MedicalXpress. It seems that two FSU statisticians have been crunching numbers on breast-cancer patients' genetic markers and which cancer therapies they received, and have found, in preliminary data analysis, that if the patients' cancer treatments "had been tailored to the patient, the response rate would have risen from 21 percent to 39 percent." That 18 percentage point increase is  an 85% increase over the baseline of 21 percent. That is huge.

Interestingly, the two FSU researchers, Jinfeng Zhang and Kaixian Yu, are not physicians. They are statisticians.

Take-away quote from Kathleen Haughney, author of the article:

"Doctors [i.e. physicians], though trained to diagnose and treat, are not statisticians."

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