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November 18, 2007 - 6:48 am

Okay, in emYale Alumni Magazine/em, that is. a href=”http://instapundit.com/”Glenn/a is an alumni of the law school and yesterday, while rather bored, I picked up the magazine and thumbed through it. Here is what I learned. First, most doctors a href=”http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/current/findings.html”can’t do stats/a:br /br /blockquoteAlmost every medical school student takes a course or two in biostatistics to learn how to understand research data. But Donna Windish, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine, has shown that the information often doesn’t stick. “A significant percentage of physicians-in-training do not understand the statistics they encounter in the medical literature,” she says. br /br /In her own teaching, Windish had seen that trainees often read only the abstracts, or “ignored the statistics and skipped right to the results.” This practice turns out to be common throughout the medical profession — and potentially troubling. “An abstract usually says little about methods of design, conduct, and analysis,” says Windish, citing an earlier study that showed frequent data mismatches between the abstract and the paper.br /br /”Doctors don’t necessarily need to know how to do the mathematical calculations,” Windish says. “They need to understand the concepts and how to use them.” /blockquotebr /Funny, talk to most doctors and they will tell you that only MDs can prescribe because they “know all that calculus, stats and stuff.” Really? I’ve never seen a doctor do any calculations to write a prescription. Now, I’ve learned that many of them them don’t know how to interpret a piece of research thoroughly. That really breeds confidence.br /br /Next, I found out in the magazine that:br /br /blockquoteMorning people are more likely to be emotionally stable than their “night owl” counterparts. Yale psychology postdoctoral researcher Colin DeYoung and his colleagues studied 279 students in an introductory psychology class at the University of Toronto and found a moderately strong correlation between “morningness” and character traits associated with stability. /blockquotebr /br /Uhmm, okay, but I am not sure I buy this theory for the population at large. Undergrads are notorious for partying at night and sleeping during the day. When they have kids or get older and have to be at a job, I wonder if this still holds true? Can’t researchers ever get away from studying undergraduates, who are such a peculiar type of cohort that findings may not carry over to other people at different points of life or in different environments?br /br /Finally, I learned that working at Starbucks can save your life. There was an interesting book reviewed in the magazine with the intriguing title, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592402860?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1592402860″emHow Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else./em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1592402860″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / Apparently, the author, who is a member of the Yale class of 63, got a plum job with J. Walter Thompson ad agency only to lose it at the age of 53. Then he goes on to have a number of misfortunes including impregnating a mistress, getting kicked out by his wife, a brain tumor etc. He loses his job and ends up working at a Starbucks in Manhattan and loves it. Naturally, the book review makes fun of this fact, describing the author as a “Starbucks sycophant” but whatever. br /br /The book sounds fun and interesting enough to consider for my collection of reading material that I can never get to since I am too busy reading magazines such as the one described for no other reason than it was sitting beside me on the coffee table.

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