logo for solving-math-problems.com
leftimage for solving-math-problems.com

clinical study, Brand ABC*, Statistics











































Comment on this statement taken from a magazine advertisement: “In a recent clinical study, Brand ABC* was proved to be 1950 percent better than creatine!” *Actual brand will not be named.

Comments for clinical study, Brand ABC*, Statistics

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 07, 2012
Statistics - Manipulation
by: Staff

Question:

Comment on this statement taken from a magazine advertisement: “In a recent clinical study, Brand ABC* was proved to be 1950 percent better than creatine!” *Actual brand will not be named.


Answer:

There are several things about this advertisement that create a credibility gap.

First, the ad does not tell the reader who conducted the “clinical study”. Was it a nationally recognized medical center, or the corner drugstore?

In addition, the ad doesn’t say what a “clinical study” means, how many people were tested, or who they were (what were the control groups): children, old men, vegetarians, athletes, people from a specific location (such as Tulsa, Oklahoma), etc.

Second, the words “In a recent clinical study” do not tell the reader when the study was conducted. The word “recent” could mean anything from yesterday to 50 years ago.

Third, the ad states that “1950% better” is a proven statistic, without providing any proof.

The word “better” is not explained. Better coordination? Higher ABC levels in a subjects blood (immediately after taking a massive dose of product ABC)? Better longevity in the subjects tested? Etc.

The confidence interval for the results of the study is not given. The confidence interval could be 95% or 25% - or anything else.

IMPORTANT: the advertisement does not tell the reader HOW MANY STUDIES were CONDUCTED.

The number of studies is important: if product ABC was completely useless with a 95% confidence interval that means 2 ½ % of the time a study will show it is effective. A study may actually show the product to be highly effective ½ % of the time.

To promote a completely useless product, all the seller needs to do is conduct one study after another UNTIL one study shows the product is superior. The seller (or distributor) can then selectively report that particular study without telling the reader about all the other studies which show the opposite result.

You might also be interested in the answers to similar questions posted on the following link:


(1) If your browser is Firefox, click the following link to VIEW the solution; or if your browser is Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari (2A) highlight and copy the link, then (2B) paste the link into your browser Address bar & press enter:

Use the Backspace key to return to this page:



http://www.solving-math-problems.com/help-advertisements-using-numbers-to-mislead-readers.html


Lastly, the following website (named “Bad Science”) highlights the negative consequences of using statistics improperly:

http://www.badscience.net/


Thanks for writing.

Staff
www.solving-math-problems.com



Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Math Questions & Comments - 01.



Copyright © 2008-2015. All rights reserved. Solving-Math-Problems.com