# 15 to 42 percent of medical research are false positives (Yet Another Calculation)

A while ago I found a very interesting paper from Leah R. Jager and Jeffrey T. Leek  via a post in the Simply Statistics blog arguing that most published medical research is true with a rate of false positives among reported results of 14% ± 1%.  Their paper came as a response to an essay from John P. A. Ioannidis and several others authors claiming that most published research findings are false.

After dealing with some criticisms Mr. Leek made a good point in his post:

“I also hope that by introducing a new estimator of the science-wise fdr we inspire more methodological development and that philosophical criticisms won’t prevent people from looking at the data in new ways.”

And thus, following this advice, I didn’t let criticisms prevent me from looking at the data in a new way. So for this problem I have devised a probability distribution for p-values to then fit the data via MLE and infer from there the rate of false positives.

So this is my take; 15.33% rate of false positive with a worse case scenario of 41.75% depending on how mischievous researchers are but, in any case, and contrary to what others authors claim, most medical research seems to be true.

# Anal Sex and Smoking… Or How Dangerous Danger Is

• Anal sex increases your chances to have anal cancer up to 17 , 31 times.
• Smoking cigarettes increases your chances to have lung cancer 23 times.

Yet, though you probably want to drop smoking, homosexual men should not worry too much about anal sex. Women, on the other hand…

So yeah, Merry Christmas and have a nice day… But wait a minute, before you rethink your lifestyle and become a monk or a nun to avoid a premature death, let’s see how dangerous danger is. Continue reading