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Know your chances - understanding risk

Know your chances - understanding risk

Last week, Karl Schwartz of Patients Against Lymphoma, posted information about a free downloadable e-book "Know Your Chances - Understanding Health Statistics", which is available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (

Quick link:


Steven Woloshin, MD, MS,

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, MS, and

H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH.

"The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by

teaching you about the numbers behind the messages-the medical statistics on

which the claims are based.

The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to

help you put your health concerns in perspective.

By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask,

you'll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information-if

any-that remains."

Worth checking out if you'd appreciate a plain English explanation of what it means to have an x% greater (or lesser) chance of you developing (or avoiding) different medical conditions if you exercise, take particular medications, are overweight, etc, etc. This book puts such commonly used statements into an easily understandable context, so you'll know when to dismiss apparently scary risk increases and perhaps be encouraged to make some worthwhile changes where the risk/benefit warrants this.


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