Recall bias and our fallibility

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , ,

“Recall bias, vaccines, and illness”. OK, not strictly on topic (well, not completely off either), but I do find these sorts of things interesting…

A longish post in ‘Respectful Insolence‘ brings our attention to an article in the BMJ that finds evidence of recall bias in studies of multiple-vaccinations and illness in the British army. When looking for an association between illness and jabs, with data of who had received which jabs and when from medical records, there was no association. When looking again for an association between illness and jabs, but this time relying on the recollection of soldiers themselves, there was an association. The (blog post) author suggests that “Each of us tends to think that his or her memory is far above average, at least when it comes to issues like this. Combine the fallibility of human memory with the natural human tendency to find correlations and relations where none exist, and it’s not too surprising that the myth that vaccines cause autism, for instance, is so persistent, all science refuting notwithstanding.”

Take a look; you’ll enjoy it. If you come out hungry for more, try the Epi Wonk blog.


2 Responses to “Recall bias and our fallibility”

  1. […] I’m back from vacation. While I was away, an excellent paper appeared in the British Medical Journal, entitled, “Multiple vaccinations, health, and recall bias within UK armed forces deployed to Iraq: cohort study.” The authors are Dominic Murphy, Matthew Hotopf, and Simon Wessely, all of Kings Centre for Military Health Research, Kings College London. The paper has already been reviewed in detail by Orac and Anthony Cox, with a nice little shout-out by Alan at the health informaticist . […]

  2. […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by xitrumgirl2001 on July 16, 2008 Recall bias, vaccines, and illness. OK, … – […]

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