Low prior + frightening implications = inflammatory epidemiology?
It is often difficult for the media and the public to appreciate the role of flawed but contributory epidemiologic research. A study of cell phone use and children's behavior problems (published in this issue) illustrates the ingredients of "inflammatory epidemiology"--there is a common exposure and a common health problem, a very low prior probability of a biologic effect, and a statistical association between the exposure and outcome. The authors acknowledge the study's limitations, and the reviewers and editors share the view that these findings are worth disseminating to the scientific community for their evaluation. This report moves the evidence from an extremely low prior probability to a slightly higher (but still extremely low) posterior probability. The potential for misinterpretation can be mitigated by appropriately cautious interpretation of the findings, and by reliance on expert panels to integrate evidence and to draw the behavioral and policy implications of such studies.
- Tweeting about physical activity: can tweeting the walk help keeping the walk?
- Exposure to pro-smoking media in college students: does type of media channel differentially contribute to smoking risk?
- Friends moderate the effects of pro-smoking media on college students' intentions to smoke.
- ["Wise be aware of your sayings"--about gaps between epidemiological data base, experimental results and decision making in health administration].
- Momentary effects of exposure to prosmoking media on college students' future smoking risk.