Fall 2013

TDO User Meeting & Scientific Session

Fall 2013

Statistical and Clinical Inference: The Credibility of Evidence

Presenter: Dr. John Ioannidis, MD, PhD, Stanford University

This presentation will give an overarching view of what the problems are in our scientific inference because of inductive hypothesis testing. P-values alone are poor indicators of evidentiary strength and significance chasing can lead to an excess of nominally significant findings with modest or even low credibility. We will discuss the main types of excess significance bias as they present themselves in the clinical and biomedical literature. Data will be drawn from diverse fields and practical examples. Finally, solutions will be discussed on how to enhance the credibility of the evidence and its more appropriate interpretation.

What will be covered:

  • Scientific Inference and inductive hypothesis testing
  • What is a p-value and why is it a poor indicator of evidentiary strength
  • How credible is the evidence in our literature?
  • How to uncover occult bias in scientific and clinical research
  • How can we make our research and clinical inferences better?

Honors & Awards

  • European Award for Excellence in Clinical Science, European Society for Clinical Investigation (2007)
  • Executive board member and center director, Human Genome Epidemiology Network (2004-)
  • President, Society for Research Synthesis Methodology (2009-2010)
  • Elected member, Association of American Physicians (2009-)
  • Elected fellow, European Academy of Cancer Sciences (2010-)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Infectious Diseases (1996)
  • Residency: New England Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Internal Medicine (1993)
  • DSc: University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece, Biopathology (1996)
  • MD: University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece, Medicine (1990)

Dr. Ioannidis’s 2005 paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” has been the most downloaded technical paper in history from the journal PLoS Medicine

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear and learn from one of the most erudite speakers on the scientific method. This all-day presentation will change the way you evaluate our clinical and experimental research and build upon the foundation that was laid from the last Scientific Session. It is a rare opportunity to hear one of the best speakers on scientific inference.

Talk 2: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

How do we fix healthcare in this country? At one end of the continuum, the most intimate interactions with patients – the human elements – appear broken. Why is this so? More importantly, can this be fixed?

At the other end of the continuum, there is a structural elephant in the room that is the root cause of why ours is the only country spending 18% of our GDP on healthcare, despite not getting the value we’d expect.

This talk weaves two narratives into one story – two ends of the same book. The first narrative describes what Peter calls the two “best, worst experiences” of his life, the events that you’d never want to relive though, in retrospect, you realize you’re better for having endured them. These events changed the way Peter thinks about human interactions.

The second narrative takes a stark look at the flow of money into and out of the U.S. healthcare system and comes to a startling conclusion: there is no system on earth that would ever function properly with the incentives underpinning this system.

Our healthcare system can be fixed, but to do so we have to change the way we approach it from both ends of the spectrum.

Talk 1: The history of the cholesterol-heart hypothesis: 60 years of ambiguity

Most of the dietary recommendations made in the United States are not firmly grounded in well-controlled science. The implications for this are profound, especially at a time when two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and obesity and its related diseases – diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease to name a few – are claiming the lives of more people each year. In this presentation, Peter takes a close look at one such pillar of dietary wisdom, the recommendation that Americans minimize their consumption of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat in an effort to reduce heart disease.

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