A network for students interested in evidence-based health care

Statistically funny: Commenting on the science of unbiased health research with cartoons

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Abu Abioye

Learning Resources
Hilda Bastian cartoon

What:

It is probably true to say that statistics and evidence-based medicine would feature pretty low down on a list of topics that make most people roll over on the floor laughing. Hilda Bastian, a prolific blogger and editor of Pubmed Health [1], shows that statistics can actually be funny. In this blog [2], she draws witty cartoons which shed light on important issues ranging from bias in systematic reviews [3] to the Catch-22 of clinical trials [4] – “to protect pregnant women and children from the risks of untested drugs…we don’t test drugs adequately for them.”

Who:

The blog is aimed at anyone with an interest in evidence-based medicine. It is written in simple English so most people with an interest in science will be able to follow it. Even if you are still developing your interest in evidence-based medicine, the blog is laden with links to articles and resources that easily explain unfamiliar concepts.

If you have a lot of experience with statistics and evidence-based medicine then the blog is likely to cover topics that you are already familiar with. However, this should not put you off from perusing the content because the cartoons will have you laughing out loud and the text is likely to shed light on controversial issues that you may not be aware of, even if you understand the statistics.

How long:

There are over 40 blog entries, however each only takes about 5 minutes to read. You can dip in and out at your leisure.

Opinion:

If you are a visual person, like me, then this blog is perfect. Not all the entries are hilariously funny but they are all interesting. I found myself reading post after post because the colourful cartoons draw you in, but you feel as if you have learnt something new by the time you have finished reading the text. The blog is definitely worth visiting regularly. You can also follow Hilda on Twitter: @hildabast.

Link:

http://statistically-funny.blogspot.co.uk/ [2]

[1] Anon. PubMed Health [Internet]. Bethesda MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine [updated 18 September 2012; cited 2 May 2013]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/

[2] Hilda Bastian. Statistically Funny [Internet]. Blogspot; 10 January 2012 [updated 21 May 2013; cited 2 May 2013]. Available from: http://statistically-funny.blogspot.co.uk/

[3] Hilda Bastian. Look Ma, straight A’s! [Internet]. Blogspot: Statistically Funny; 9 April 2013 [cited 2 May 2013]. Available from: http://statistically-funny.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/look-ma-straight-as.html#links

[4] Hilda Bastian. Women and children overboard [Internet]. Blogspot: Statistically Funny; 23 April 2013 [cited 2 May 2013]. Available from: http://statistically-funny.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/women-and-children-overboard.html#links

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Abu Abioye

Abu Abioye

Hi, my name is Abu. I am a medical student at Oxford University, currently in my 6th and final year. I also work as a tutor in Neuroscience, Physiology, and Critical Thinking at various Oxford colleges. My academic interests include neuroscience, mental health, alternative medicine, exercise medicine, and surgery. View more posts from Abu

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