Dr Haroons Training Centre

helmet statistics

For one of the short modules i teach on scientific writing and biostatistics , i brushed up a lot on sampling theory and statistics . I was amazed at the extent to which this beautiful subject was ignored by most even in the science community . No ,i dont mean the hardcore researchers  for whom its indeed bread and butter ,but the users of scientific information which includes most people in healthcare field . 

Recently on a road journey by car from alleppey to trivandrum just for fun i was counting the number of people with and without helmets . To make it reasonably significant i counted in the hundreds (doesnt take much time ) . I took two samples in the highway and two samples in the city . ( nerdy me , sorry )  . Of course i applied my ministatistics theory on the data and found some significant ( p value ) difference between the highway helmet use and the city helmet use . 

To keep things in perspective kerala was notorious in non adoption of helmets even a few years back . There were articles in newspapers telling that baldness will come on using helmets . At the same time baldness cure indigenous medicines were also having big sale in kerala . 

But the optimist in me was happy to find that 88 and 94 percent of people were using helmets in the citylimits . Of course  for a highly skeptical crowd that degree of helmet adoption is very good indeed . The highway statistics was 62 and 66 percent helmet usage . To be fair i will assume a majority of people using helmets anywhere is a cause for optimism  . But still there was a sharp difference between helmet usage in city and outside city limits . And the pessimist in me ( i am 89.96 percent optimist :) )  is worried about this trend . In highways generally the speed is greater and police checking is lesser . But greater helmet protection is needed in highways but its lesser there . 

But most importantly , i would like to bring to attention of anyone that , its not the helmet statistics that is important . But any claim be it baldness induction by helmets or baldness cure by indiginous oils all should be scrutinised scientifically . For that you dont have to dabble in high end maths . But a laymans level of knowledge in statistics and scientific communication maybe of benefit . This is especially important for healthcare professionals who are increasingly called for to interpret data and explain in laymans terms 

Big data , pharma research , p value all are high end stuff supposedly outside the league of most people  . But more than curiosity in the future just like business statistics help business , biostatistics will indeed help the healthcare professional to handle the information overload . A few key concepts and a few key examples may change the way you view not only treatments but even life . 


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