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Andrew Gelman The PACE trial and the problems with discrete, yes/no thinking

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Cheshire, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Cheshire

    Cheshire Senior Member

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    As he promised, new blog post from Andrew Gelman.

    http://andrewgelman.com/2016/01/06/...l-inference-resolve-reverse-causal-questions/
     
    rosieness, Valentijn, Woolie and 9 others like this.
  2. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Not sure I'm thrilled with that post. It seems to be steering the argument into rather abstract, murky waters, the kind where the BPS crowd thrive.

    In the end, there were some much more fundamental problems with PACE, not least that it recruited using bogus diagnostic criteria crafted to fit the same theory the PACE researchers were trying to confirm.

    I think we should be kicking the legs out from under the whole pseudo-scientific edifice behind PACE rather than getting too far into questions of which conclusions might be drawn from such a study (when the answer is none, ever).
     
    Keela Too, Woolie, Mesurfer and 6 others like this.
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I was hoping for more on the mediation paper's statistics. It seemed like he jumped to those more abstract points before having really understood a lot of the controversies around PACE.

    LOL - yeah.
     
  4. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Same feeling here. Missing the elephant in the room while focusing on some minor (if relevant) issue. Getting the feeling he can't quite believe it's really as bad as claimed.

    The question of what conclusions should be drawn is important but the question of whether we can draw any conclusions at all even more so.

    How bizarrely inappropriate the entire BPS model is should also raise eyebrows.
     
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  5. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member

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    I am coming to think that Andrew Gelman has missed the whole point. It really does seem that, like the psychiatrists, he does not see why PACE is NOT a gold standard trial. Randomisation and statistical significance are only some of the things you need for a useful study. A Rolls Royce with no brake pads is not much use to you.
     
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  6. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Maybe they're just not used to such blatant incompetence and assume the criticism, while being justified, is probably also exaggerated. Oh well.

    Also frustrating that this crowd, while being very concerned about the quality of research, seems entirely unconcerned with whether claims of psychogenic illness are even valid logically and scientifically. There's one reason why so much research in psychology and psychiatry is piss poor. They should be concerned about this as well.
     
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  7. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I think that point really needs making on his blog - I hope you'll post there.

    One or two other people have said it but I think it needs reinforcing. He's potentially a useful ally but he doesn't seem to appreciate quite the extent to which PACE is useless.
     
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  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member

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    I think I have already said it, Sasha. I am not sure how useful an advocate is if they don't have a grasp of the problem.
     
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  9. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Ah well. I've left a comment.
     
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  10. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    An excellent comment.
     
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  11. Kyla

    Kyla ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ

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    yeah, I have a few issues with this one as well.

    Is anyone else having an issue with commenting? I've tried three times and not gotten the comment posted (and the previous ones were on older posts showing newer comments that would have come long after)

    I don't think I posted anything offensive or even questionable, so not sure if this is a moderation issue or something else.
     
  12. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Right on. That's what I was trying to say.

    If I postulate that shape-shifting lizard people are sneaking into houses at night and that their toxic emissions are making some people ill, it doesn’t matter how well-designed my study to test the efficacy of lizard repellent is. Doesn’t matter if I can find some statistical support for those people gaining some improvements in the presence of lizard repellent. My theory is still nonsense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
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  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I was not particularly happy with the blog either. However I don't think it demonstrates a lack of understanding.

    Let me boil it down. Even without considering methodological problems, if you presume the study data is right, then you still cannot be sure enough of the findings to use them in public policy.

    So best case scenario is you still cannot use the findings in formulating policy. Once you consider other things it just gets worse from there.
     
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  14. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Thanks! Got a nice comment from Andrew and a correction (so I've asked for another one!). :)
     
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  15. Bob

    Bob

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    No problem for me. He usually accepts posts quickly, and he doesn't seem easily offended by criticisms. Sometimes comments to a blog can go into a spam box for no reason, only to be discovered by the blog owner weeks later. Otherwise perhaps clear your browser cache just in case it's a minor bug on your system.
     
  16. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    sarah darwins, A.B. and Esther12 like this.
  17. Kyla

    Kyla ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ

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    hmmm. have tried in two different browsers on two devices.

    Now I'm afraid I've been labelled a "vexatious" "militant" :nervous:

    Maybe I will email him and ask if I have been spam-filtered.
     
    Bob likes this.
  18. Bob

    Bob

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    Hehe... I know you're not being entirely serious, but isn't it ridiculous for such a thought to cross our minds, however fleeting, after posting very reasonable comments.

    But what I've noticed about the comments after Andrew's blog is that he engages with everyone respectfully and with an open & curious mind, and there is a meaningful dialogue going on. That's instead of the usual situation whereby we are constantly banging our heads against a brick wall trying to correct ignorance and prejudice. It's so refreshing to read the comments section.

    I know that Andrew didn't quite hit all the right notes on this blog, but he seems genuinely interested in what patients have to say, and receptive to information, and not at all defensive. Very refreshing.

    I hope he continues to maintain an interest in the subject. As he learns more, he might become bolder in his criticisms. I'm not sure how many read his blog but he's got an academic following, and he might be influential.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
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  19. Kyla

    Kyla ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ

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    well, he doesn't seem to have an email address posted on the site, so I can't ask why my comments aren't going through. oh well

    FWIW Here was the comment I was trying to post on today's blogpost
    My main concerns with this post were that he seems to have the common misperception that GET and CBT for ME is harmless even if it isn't effective. and the related point that often goes with this, that it the only option available.

    If anyone wants to comment with any part of this, or the whole thing, feel free:

     
    Sea and Bob like this.
  20. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Perhaps that post is over the character limit for comments Kyla. Or if Andrew personally reviews/moderates all comments himself before publishing, perhaps he's saving that one up for bedtime reading. :D
     

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