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Lecture 1

HLTH 102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Temporality


Department
Health Studies
Course Code
HLTH 102
Professor
Stevenson Fergus
Lecture
1

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HLTH 102 – Feb. 5, 2015 Lecture
Today:
Correlation versus causation
DO vaccines cause autism?
Correlation vs. Causation:
Correlation coefficient
oFalls between 0 and 1
oWhen the value is 1, then both sets of data are the same
Cofounding
oDrinking coffee leads to different types of cancer
People who drink coffee are closely related to smoking cigarettes
What is needed to infer causality?
oStrength
oConsistency
Across various research; same results from different studies
oTemporality
The effect has to occur after the cause
oDose-response
oPlausibility
To think logically about the results and determine if it actually
makes sense
oCoherence
Two types of evidence coming together
oExperiment
Vaccines and Autism:
Increased diagnose of autism
Parents looking for answers
Science is messy and doesn’t have a clear answer
Symptoms of autism often are first noticed at same age children are usually
vaccinated
Greater interest in “natural/organic” living
Celebrity spokespeople
1998, Wakefield et al. paper:
Published in The Lancet
Report of 12 children
Said to have developed autistic disorders after receiving MMR vaccine
Did not claim a casual link
Called for further study
Wakefield published follow-up papers in 2000, 2001
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