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Bruce Stephens
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It seems to me that the approach might never have been very effective. Just that it worked (and still works) for a small minority of people, and now we'd like it to work for a larger proportion. It might be that only 18% can do that particular problem, but maybe that was always so. It seems perfectly reasonable to consider what kinds of teaching would achieve whatever results are deemed to be useful (or otherwise valued), and it seems quite plausible (almost certain) that the appropriate teaching now would differ from that decades ago in various ways.
This wasn't, of course, a RCT. IIUC almost no such nutritional studies are RCTs. It was observational (epidemiological). With RCTs I guess complaint 1 still stands: if you're studying one outcome then you're likely to end up presenting that one outcome and perhaps ignoring others. And the meta-complaint still stands, that the statistics tend to be presented in relative risk terms which (IIUC) are well accepted as being one of the worst ways to communicate such statistics. Complaints 2 and 3 would usually be avoided, presuming everything goes well (the study is effectively blinded, sufficiently large, etc.).
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Mar 14, 2012