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(Fox News)   Increase of rare birth defects in Washington State has experts and newborns stumped   (foxnews.com) divider line 53
    More: Scary, birth defects  
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3134 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Mar 2014 at 8:53 AM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-05 04:52:58 AM
Whoever wrote the title for that piece is going to hell. And subby, you're going with them.
 
2014-03-05 04:56:30 AM
It's the spooky bonechilling rain and lack of sunshine. Don't move here, you won't make it.
 
2014-03-05 05:46:46 AM
"HAW HAW LIBS DON'T HAVE BRAINS!" is a little lowbrow even for Fox.
 
2014-03-05 07:06:17 AM
Some experts say that watching Fox News while pregnant can lead to anencephaly.
 
2014-03-05 07:12:56 AM

Marmilman: Some experts say that watching Fox News while pregnant can lead to anencephaly.


Generating their own target audience.
 
2014-03-05 07:18:00 AM

MrBallou: Marmilman: Some experts say that watching Fox News while pregnant can lead to anencephaly.

Generating their own target audience.


And future employees. It's brilliant. In a brainless sort of way.
 
2014-03-05 08:35:10 AM
Oh, oh...that headline is sooooo wrong, subby.

I move over in this handbasket and give you the window seat in admiration....
 
2014-03-05 08:57:15 AM
Its the marywanna! I knew it would come to this. Damnable hippies.
 
2014-03-05 08:59:09 AM
Headline:

i50.tinypic.com
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-03-05 08:59:14 AM
Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?
 
2014-03-05 09:00:04 AM
omg are we really that bad at statistics?

/fisher was the man
 
2014-03-05 09:01:11 AM

ZAZ: Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?



Better than average?
 
2014-03-05 09:01:54 AM

Marmilman: Some experts say that watching Fox News while pregnant can lead to anencephaly.


And some say the converse.
 
2014-03-05 09:03:19 AM

AverageAmericanGuy: Whoever wrote the title for that piece is going to hell. And subby, you're going with them.


And this headline is probably coming around again at the end of the year for the HOTY contest.
 
2014-03-05 09:04:10 AM

antron: Headline:


You're evil.

Keep going.
 
2014-03-05 09:04:54 AM

give me doughnuts: ZAZ: Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?


Better than average?


Especially when people in that part of the country are exposed to OMG GMO PESTICIDE RADIATION MMR wharrgarbl.
 
2014-03-05 09:08:44 AM

ZAZ: Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?


Four time higher should be enough to rule out chance. But it is Eastern Washington.
 
2014-03-05 09:09:33 AM
Obviously, it's from pot.
 
2014-03-05 09:09:50 AM
Clever headline, if only the article were about phocomyelia.

I've only ever seen one anencephalic baby in 25+ years.  It was born full term when I was an intern.  The neonatologist brought me to the nursery so I could see it.  The baby had a beautiful, perfectly-formed face and they had a newborn hat covering its head.  Dr. Patel removed the hat to give me a look and there was just a huge empty cavity where the brain should be.  I could see a tiny nubbin of brainstem that was dehydrated and shriveled like an umbilical stump.  Poor kid died some hours later and I know its parents were devastated.  I didn't cry then but it did affect me deeply.
 
2014-03-05 09:11:27 AM

jfarkinB: give me doughnuts: ZAZ: Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?


Better than average?

Especially when people in that part of the country are exposed to OMG GMO PESTICIDE RADIATION MMR wharrgarbl.


The word rare might have some meaning idk but no you go ahead and ride your hobby horse.
 
2014-03-05 09:16:28 AM

hoyt clagwell: Clever headline, if only the article were about phocomyelia.

I've only ever seen one anencephalic baby in 25+ years.  It was born full term when I was an intern.  The neonatologist brought me to the nursery so I could see it.  The baby had a beautiful, perfectly-formed face and they had a newborn hat covering its head.  Dr. Patel removed the hat to give me a look and there was just a huge empty cavity where the brain should be.  I could see a tiny nubbin of brainstem that was dehydrated and shriveled like an umbilical stump.  Poor kid died some hours later and I know its parents were devastated.  I didn't cry then but it did affect me deeply.


....

Jesus, those poor parents.  This is a really, really rare thing, right?  Hopefully?
 
2014-03-05 09:19:27 AM

LasersHurt: AverageAmericanGuy: Whoever wrote the title for that piece is going to hell. And subby, you're going with them.

And this headline is probably coming around again at the end of the year for the HOTY contest.


Do we give the award to Fox News?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-03-05 09:24:01 AM
GodComplex

If you divide the country into 100 regions, 5 of them may be farther than two standard deviations from the mean. People will look at those and say "something is weird here!" But it's just chance.

(I know it's probably a Poisson distribution rather than a bell curve, and you can have more or less than 5% outliers in general, but I want somebody else to do the math.)
 
2014-03-05 09:24:44 AM

ZAZ: Statistics majors, what are the odds that at least one part of the country has that four times higher rate simply due to chance?


Assuming 50 independent states (independence may not be a valid assumption), an occurrence rate of 2 in 10000, we can determine the probability of getting a rate of 8 in 10,000 by using the binomial distribution. In this case the probability of a single state observing a rate of 8 in 10,000 the probability is .086% (you can compute in excel using the following  function =BINOM.DIST(8,10000,0.0002,FALSE)  ).

Then you ask the qualifying question of what are the odds that AT LEAST ONE state has that rate. So now you are asking for a cummulative probability. We again use the binomial distribution, but this time we are asking the probability of seeing at least 1 event with an expected chance of .086% in 50 tries. This is akin to 1-Probility of 0 successes. Using the following function in excel (=1-BINOM.DIST(0,50,0.00086,FALSE) ) we get:

4.2%

Someone please check my math, I have a new baby and I don't sleep much these days.
 
2014-03-05 09:26:36 AM
What the hell does this mean!?

"Almost all babies born with this condition die shortly after pregnancy."
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-03-05 09:26:51 AM
Thank you, Geriatric Goodman Brown. Congrats on the baby, I hope it has a brain.
 
2014-03-05 09:37:31 AM

utah dude: omg are we really that bad at statistics?

/fisher was the man


In his later years, Fisher defending smoking, saying that correlation does not imply causation. That may be true, but it sure as hell tells you to check something out.

Fisher's adherence to hypothesis testing has become somewhat problematic in the field of science and statistics and there is a reasonable amount of debate as to reforming some of the basic principles that are taught. The fact that many published findings cannot be replicated is often blamed on methods that are rooted in a Fisherian (is that a word? should I just call it Fishing???) approach.

Nate Silver had a rather scathing review of Fisher in his book.
 
2014-03-05 09:45:34 AM

whidbey: It's the spooky bonechilling rain and lack of sunshine. Don't move here, you won't make it.


That area surrounds Hanford, but I'm sure it's just a coincidence. There's also high concentrations of agricultural chemicals in the water.
 
2014-03-05 09:46:30 AM

bizwack: What the hell does this mean!?

"Almost all babies born with this condition die shortly after pregnancy."


Don't get your newborn pregnant?
 
2014-03-05 09:57:07 AM
JoieD'Zen: whidbey: It's the spooky bonechilling rain and lack of sunshine. Don't move here, you won't make it.

That area surrounds Hanford, but I'm sure it's just a coincidence. There's also high concentrations of agricultural chemicals in the water.

>> knew an apple grower in WA that died of brain cancer a few years back. Coincidentally, his orchard was right across the river from the Hanford site.
 
2014-03-05 10:06:21 AM

ZAZ: GodComplex

If you divide the country into 100 regions, 5 of them may be farther than two standard deviations from the mean. People will look at those and say "something is weird here!" But it's just chance.

(I know it's probably a Poisson distribution rather than a bell curve, and you can have more or less than 5% outliers in general, but I want somebody else to do the math.)


Been years since I took stats, but I was wondering if STDDEV could be greater than the average. I'm fairly certain it's not, so I'd conclude that it's way farther than two deviations, well into the the fractions of a percent range. But we'd really have to know the deviation to properly assess it. And I'd argue for a normal curve since we're dealing with a population.

But Mr. Brown was kinda enough to crunch some numbers, arguing it'd be pretty rare, so I think the debate is moot.
 
2014-03-05 10:27:26 AM

GodComplex: ZAZ: GodComplex

If you divide the country into 100 regions, 5 of them may be farther than two standard deviations from the mean. People will look at those and say "something is weird here!" But it's just chance.

(I know it's probably a Poisson distribution rather than a bell curve, and you can have more or less than 5% outliers in general, but I want somebody else to do the math.)

Been years since I took stats, but I was wondering if STDDEV could be greater than the average. I'm fairly certain it's not, so I'd conclude that it's way farther than two deviations, well into the the fractions of a percent range. But we'd really have to know the deviation to properly assess it. And I'd argue for a normal curve since we're dealing with a population.

But Mr. Brown was kinda enough to crunch some numbers, arguing it'd be pretty rare, so I think the debate is moot.


While a poisson distribution is a count distribution, please note that it assumes the mean and the variance are equal, making it very rare in reality. I personally find it to be overused.  A good statistician will check the dispersion of the data to ensure that a poisson distribution fits the model they are building (among other checks). I find that a negative binomial distribution is a much better fit for many things.

Both of those distributions assume an infinite number of trials, which the question postulated had a limit of 50. Thus I think the binomial distribution givens the best approximation. Note that the normal distribution is the most well known and it has STDEV parameters well know to many people, but this distribution of data does not share those patterns.

While a single occurrence is rare, IMO... across 50 trials... not so much. 4% for each year that at least one state will have this occurrence... not so rare.

Now if the rate jumps from 8 to 9, then the probability of occurrence at least once across 50 states plummets for 4% to just under 1%
And at 10 in 10,000 the probability plummets further to .2%

So how rare is this rare event? Think less it terms of significance in hypothesis testing. Think of it in practical terms. Do you act if there is a 4% chance of this occurring naturally? Do you use the CDC and tons of resources to investigate? I can say you're certainly more likely to use the CDC over a .2% than a 4% issue. Someone else can decide the cutoff.

/Statistics is a superpower...
//The power to cure... insomnia...
 
2014-03-05 10:42:13 AM
The plural of anecdote is not data.  They noted a statistical outlier, then tailored a study to include only that area. Are there results even outside the margin of uncertainty for that size of a study?

Ya, ya, I know, ratiashonz from Japan!
 
2014-03-05 10:49:32 AM

Belias: The plural of anecdote is not data.  They noted a statistical outlier, then tailored a study to include only that area. Are there results even outside the margin of uncertainty for that size of a study?

Ya, ya, I know, ratiashonz from Japan!


You obviously know nothing about that area. Perhaps you can use that internet thingy to educate yourself.
 
2014-03-05 11:29:35 AM
Geriatric Goodman Brown:

So how rare is this rare event? Think less it terms of significance in hypothesis testing. Think of it in practical terms. Do you act if there is a 4% chance of this occurring naturally? Do you use the CDC and tons of resources to investigate? I can say you're certainly more likely to use the CDC over a .2% than a 4% issue. Someone else can decide the cutoff.

But hypothesis testing is all I know..

In actuality I think it's more in the realm of the DEQ (WA is too rich for the EPA to get involved) as the defect tends to be caused by pollution in one form or the other. And for something not contagious it probably wouldn't be high on the CDC list, maybe some intern could investigate.
 
jvl
2014-03-05 11:38:48 AM

Geriatric Goodman Brown: /Statistics is a superpower...


What you forgot to account for is the number of possible rare diseases. What are the odds of a cluster of one rare disease occurring?  After all, it doesn't really matter which disease occurs, there will be whinging about "oh no it must be the chemicals in our water let's sue PG&E!"
 
2014-03-05 11:46:26 AM
This is Fox News, so they're going to intentionally leave out the part where all the defects are coming out of Yakima, and the fact that Yakima is very close to the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the United States.
 
2014-03-05 11:47:32 AM

SecretAgentWoman: Oh, oh...that headline is sooooo wrong, subby.

I move over in this handbasket and give you the window seat in admiration....


This.
 
2014-03-05 11:48:16 AM

The My Little Pony Killer: This is Fox News, so they're going to intentionally leave out the part where all the defects are coming out of Yakima, and the fact that Yakima is very close to the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the United States.


www.mpiweb.org
 
2014-03-05 11:52:07 AM

bizwack: What the hell does this mean!?

"Almost all babies born with this condition die shortly after pregnancy."


It means they're all born pregnant.
 
2014-03-05 12:29:32 PM
Well,they are next to the pacific.....screw you FUKUSHIMA.
 
2014-03-05 12:43:46 PM

jvl: Geriatric Goodman Brown: /Statistics is a superpower...

What you forgot to account for is the number of possible rare diseases. What are the odds of a cluster of one rare disease occurring?  After all, it doesn't really matter which disease occurs, there will be whinging about "oh no it must be the chemicals in our water let's sue PG&E!"


I would note that there is a difference between forgetting to  for something and  failingto account for something.

You are technically corr.....

/slaps self

That's enough of that.

Your premise is correct in my opinion. Should we expand the math to include to the possibility of ANY cluster of disease (LORD knows how many you wish to check...) the probability of AT LEAST one cluster existing will approach a probability of 1 as you add more and more diseases to check. The math is also the same as you increase the number of "regions/areas" to check.

This is why the counties with the highest brain cancer rates are adjacent to the counties with the lowest rates. Rural areas. Not a cluster.

Anyway, I completely agree with your thinking here, and critical thought applied to probability theory has lead you to the correct interpretation of the situation, IMO.

Such critical thinking using scientific thought and math should always be applauded.

Kudos to you!
 
2014-03-05 01:12:36 PM

Geriatric Goodman Brown: Then you ask the qualifying question of what are the odds that AT LEAST ONE state has that rate. So now you are asking for a cummulative probability. We again use the binomial distribution, but this time we are asking the probability of seeing at least 1 event with an expected chance of .086% in 50 tries. This is akin to 1-Probility of 0 successes. Using the following function in excel (=1-BINOM.DIST(0,50,0.00086,FALSE) ) we get:


SPEAK ENGLISH! Your in Amurica now, moran!
 
2014-03-05 01:13:02 PM

The My Little Pony Killer: This is Fox News, so they're going to intentionally leave out the part where all the defects are coming out of Yakima, and the fact that Yakima is very close to the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the United States.


If this had any bearing on the situation, wouldn't every city in 100mi be experiencing an increase? Isn't it more likely that Yakima is just a blight on the landscape?
 
2014-03-05 01:16:08 PM

The One True TheDavid: Geriatric Goodman Brown: Then you ask the qualifying question of what are the odds that AT LEAST ONE state has that rate. So now you are asking for a cummulative probability. We again use the binomial distribution, but this time we are asking the probability of seeing at least 1 event with an expected chance of .086% in 50 tries. This is akin to 1-Probility of 0 successes. Using the following function in excel (=1-BINOM.DIST(0,50,0.00086,FALSE) ) we get:

SPEAK ENGLISH! Your in Amurica now, moran!


Sadly you do not possess the intellect necessary to be a professional statistician.

However, you clearly possess the intellect necessary to be a statistician's supervisor...
 
2014-03-05 02:19:37 PM

JosephFinn: hoyt clagwell: Clever headline, if only the article were about phocomyelia.

I've only ever seen one anencephalic baby in 25+ years.  It was born full term when I was an intern.  The neonatologist brought me to the nursery so I could see it.  The baby had a beautiful, perfectly-formed face and they had a newborn hat covering its head.  Dr. Patel removed the hat to give me a look and there was just a huge empty cavity where the brain should be.  I could see a tiny nubbin of brainstem that was dehydrated and shriveled like an umbilical stump.  Poor kid died some hours later and I know its parents were devastated.  I didn't cry then but it did affect me deeply.

....

Jesus, those poor parents.  This is a really, really rare thing, right?  Hopefully?



Nope, people die all the time.
 
2014-03-05 03:33:10 PM

hoyt clagwell: Clever headline, if only the article were about phocomyelia.

I've only ever seen one anencephalic baby in 25+ years.  It was born full term when I was an intern.  The neonatologist brought me to the nursery so I could see it.  The baby had a beautiful, perfectly-formed face and they had a newborn hat covering its head.  Dr. Patel removed the hat to give me a look and there was just a huge empty cavity where the brain should be.  I could see a tiny nubbin of brainstem that was dehydrated and shriveled like an umbilical stump.  Poor kid died some hours later and I know its parents were devastated.  I didn't cry then but it did affect me deeply.


When my mom was pregnant with me and my twin the male twin died six months into the pregnancy. They kept her on a shiatload of antibiotics til she gave birth. The anecephalic twin came out in pieces,the fluids were black and I came out gray and not breathing. They thought they were going to have to go get another death certificate til my mom's aunt Sue worked with me enough to get me breathing. Sue kept me right by her the entire time at the hospital cause they were afraid I'd have heart failure,as a little kid they put me in special classes and I had an aide just in case I turned out to also have brain damage or something. Welp I didn't.
/Females are more likely to be anecephalic than males are so I'm super farking lucky to even be here.
//My brother's name would have been Andrew.
 
2014-03-05 03:38:56 PM
Hanford leaking and inbreeding hicks on the east side may, just may, explain the numbers.
 
2014-03-05 03:54:15 PM

The My Little Pony Killer: This is Fox News, so they're going to intentionally leave out the part where all the defects are coming out of Yakima, and the fact that Yakima is very close to the most contaminated nuclear waste site in the United States.


Oh no, the conspiracy widens!! CNN is in on it too!!!

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/01/health/cohen-birth-defects/
 
2014-03-05 04:50:58 PM

A Terrible Human: hoyt clagwell: Clever headline, if only the article were about phocomyelia.

I've only ever seen one anencephalic baby in 25+ years.  It was born full term when I was an intern.  The neonatologist brought me to the nursery so I could see it.  The baby had a beautiful, perfectly-formed face and they had a newborn hat covering its head.  Dr. Patel removed the hat to give me a look and there was just a huge empty cavity where the brain should be.  I could see a tiny nubbin of brainstem that was dehydrated and shriveled like an umbilical stump.  Poor kid died some hours later and I know its parents were devastated.  I didn't cry then but it did affect me deeply.

When my mom was pregnant with me and my twin the male twin died six months into the pregnancy. They kept her on a shiatload of antibiotics til she gave birth. The anecephalic twin came out in pieces,the fluids were black and I came out gray and not breathing. They thought they were going to have to go get another death certificate til my mom's aunt Sue worked with me enough to get me breathing. Sue kept me right by her the entire time at the hospital cause they were afraid I'd have heart failure,as a little kid they put me in special classes and I had an aide just in case I turned out to also have brain damage or something. Welp I didn't.
/Females are more likely to be anecephalic than males are so I'm super farking lucky to even be here.
//My brother's name would have been Andrew.


You were a miracle baby.  What was Aunt Sue's profession?  Curiosity is aroused.  (Good thing it wasn't Aunt Flo!)
 
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