Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Growing Old

It is true - as you grow older , you are more likely to read the obituaries in the BMJ. I have noticed in recent months that quite a few doctors seem to die from brain tumours - is this significant? I have not tested the statisitcal  significance - I would have to know how many non-doctors died from brain malignancies and how many doctors' deaths were not announced in the BMJ - the effort does not seem worth it!
The BMJ recently published a full page obituary for Paul Meier - he of the Kaplan-Meier Curve. I did not know that both he and  Edward Kaplan did not actually work together. They both submitted similar papers on ways on graphically representing survival to the Journal of  the American Statistical Association. The editor persuaded them  to get together to come up with one paper and one method - hence the Kaplan Meier curve.
For the past 12 months, I have been supervising 2 medical students who were doing  intercalated Bachelor of Medical science degrees. Both projects featured Kaplan Meier survivorship curves prominently. Hence the interest.