Saturday, 15 February 2014

More statins for everybody!

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says in draft guidance which now goes out to consultation that the threshold for GPs to prescribe statins to their patients should halved from the current value of a 20% risk of cardiovascular disease. 
The current guideline has been in place for a few years now, but data from clinical practice seems to suggest that it is not strictly adhered to by GPs. For example, we've seen this in our Regression Discontinuity Design project (here's some preliminary analysis $-$ I believe we'll arxive a couple of papers on this shortly)
The selection of the value of 20% 10-year risk as cut-off has been kind of controversial for some clinicians, since it was driven (also) by cost-effectiveness considerations. But at the time that the previous guideline was set, the prices of statins was much higher (it has since decreased due to the introduction of generics).
If after consultation, the guideline will be confirmed, this will probably imply a huge increase in the number of prescriptions filled in for statins.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sure thing principle

I've been a bit busy lately $-$ teaching, plus other more or less interesting things (well: some really interesting, some much less so) $-$ and thus I haven't really written many posts recently. But I still try to check my own blog roll to see whether somebody has had a bit more time to write.

While I was just doing this, I glanced over the list of the top posts from this blog and, after a long time, the post about the US election is no longer the top one from my blog. It has (by now massively!) overtaken by this

Clearly, the title has quite a lot to do with the attraction of a post and evidently the double use of the word "porn" has really been a "sure-thing" (in the sense that the post has had over 1500 visits...) for this one.

But I'm not sure that Jimmie Savage would endorse the way I've used his sure-thing principle here, though...

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Rasmus posted a couple of comments on my Christmas-present mug and apparently has started a collection of his own. But, then again, I think the mug galore has hit hard on many (eg here)... I'm going to have to get another one soon, then!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

BMHE @ University of Alberta (reds vs blues)

When I was a kid, we use to play Subbuteo all the time (in fact, my brother and I had this exact box, featuring Sampdoria on the cover $-$ I thought I just mentioned this, since last night we won the Genova derby...).

You may think this is totally irrelevant to the title of this post, but you would be mistaken; first of all, Sampdoria do feature also in BMHE (pages 31-32, when explaining subjective probabilities and Bayes theorem). 

Second, the main point of the post is that Richard Nixon, Chris Jackson and I will give a short course on Bayesian methods in health economics at the University of Alberta in Canada this coming March $-$ the actual dates are 12th-14th March, here is a flyer with some info
, in case you're interested...). 

Richard and Chris have done a course on WinBUGS in Health Economic Evaluations (kind of similar, but not quite the same as we're now doing) in the past. So when we talked, we thought it would be nice to combine BMHE, their version of the course and the BUGS book (which Chris co-authored), which is basically what this new course is about.

Just like your classic Subbuteo box which would come with two teams, the reds and the blues!