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Finally the last sentence of the report is completely

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ownership or television use. Finally, the last sentence of the report is completely incoherent. It makes no sense to talk of comparing the percentage of residents who spent more time indoors now with the percentage who spent more time indoors in 1950. (More time indoors than when?) No information is provided about actual encephalitis rates or about earlier use of air conditioning and television. Further, staying at home, watching TV, and using the air conditioner—three different activities—seem to be treated interchangeably and confusingly here. We don’t really know what is being measured or against what. Given the investigators, who are associated with reputable institutions, our suspicion is that the report is more to blame for the various confusions than the study. As it is reported, the study supports only the statistic about television and air conditioner use among those who have telephones in Kern County. 14. Causal claim: A behavior modification program aimed at Type A individuals prevents heart attacks. The study is a controlled cause-to-effect experiment. The experimental group consisted of 592 out of 862 predominantly male victims of heart attack; they were given group counseling to ease Type A behavior. The matched control group consisted of 270 subjects who received only cardiological advice. After three years, 7 percent of the experimental group had had another heart attack, compared with 13 percent of the control group. The finding is probably statistically significant given the size of the groups and the percentages involved. Details about the length of counseling are missing and they could be important because the report implies that continuation of the program was voluntary. Also, there seems to be confusion about what the investigators were researching—the relationship between the program and heart attack rate, between an actual behavioral modification and heart attack rate, between counseling and behavioral modification, or some combination or interplay of these. The conclusion the study supports is that Type A individuals who have had one heart attack can significantly reduce their chance of a second heart attack by participating (for some unspecified amount of time) in whatever kind of counseling program was conducted in the experiment. IM – 11 | 11
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Exercise 11-17 1. The dog was reportedly more accurate than the standard PSA test, which surely is better than chance at predicting whether an individual has prostate cancer. 2. From the report it isn’t clear that the dog wasn’t just recognizing urine samples from people whose samples it had encountered before. 3. The researchers should make sure, if they didn’t already, that the urine samples used in the test were not from subjects whose urine the dog had previously encountered.
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