Category Uncategorized

Getting the message across: risk communication and Ebola virus

I’ll say from the outset that I know very little about infectious diseases, so don’t read this expecting any great clarity on that side of things. I do, however, know a bit about risk communication and perception (though I do not claim to be an expert). I know that people tend to over-estimate risks of […]

Science: it’s a people thing

My twitter feed exploded this morning in response to a new European Commission Campaign called “Science: it’s a girl thing“. Specifically the ‘teaser’ video (below). In summary, the tweeple are not impressed. My guess is that the video was put together by people who don’t actually know anything about science (open toed shoes in a […]

Signs of progress

I’m nearly halfway through a PhD. Or at least, halfway through the period in which I receive financial reimbursement for my time. Hopefully the two are highly correlated. It seems appropriate to pause and reflect on the progress made. The PhD process is certainly not a linear one. The early days involve a lot of thrashing around in a […]

Conference report: Population Health Methods and Challenges 2012

Last week I set off for my first ever academic conference. The ‘first’ wasn’t just for me – this was the inaugural MRC Population Health Methods and Challenges conference, so newness all round. In the course of 48 hours, over 100 speakers imparted their insights into the methodological issues they grapple with, and the solutions […]

A matter of some urgency?

A while back I phoned up my GP surgery to make an appointment and was asked whether it was urgent. I replied in the negative and was given a slot 3 weeks later, which was fine. But it got me thinking about the subjectivity involved in answering that question. ‘Urgent’ means different things to different […]

What, will these data ne’er be clean?

I’ve had a bit of a blogging hiatus due to PhD commitments and winter hibernation, but hopefully now I’m back. One of the things I’ve been pre-occupied with lately is ‘data cleaning’ . If you know what that is, then you’ll be nodding sagely in understanding at my absence. If you don’t, let me enlighten […]

Behind the smokescreen – part 2

Well this has been an interesting experience for me. Thanks to this post by Ben Goldacre, my “Behind the Smokescreen” post has received around 50 times the traffic I usually get in my quiet little corner of the blogosphere. For the sake of new readers, I should clarify that I am not Ben Goldacre. I […]

Behind the smokescreen

(Warning: compared to my usual posts this is a bit long and a bit grumpy) I’m a non-smoking epidemiologist, with an academic focus on non-communicable disease. I should be in favour of reducing the public health threat of smoking, right? You bet! And I should be delighted by the BMA’s recommendations that smoking in cars […]

Open data? Only if you go knocking

So, I need to know what the population of the UK, and then specifically England and Wales, has been each year for the last 10 years for some analysis I’m doing. Naturally I thought to look at the Office of National Statistics for the most reliable estimates. After a couple of false starts, I found […]

Choose your words carefully

I read an article today which called for the NHS to ready itself for a ‘genetic revolution’ in healthcare. Leaving aside the perpetually optimistic claims of the genetic world, and the cost implications for a health service that is being asked to cut back on some basic surgical procedures, there was a throwaway line that […]