NNT and NNH

Two interesting articles in the New York Times describing the Number Needed to Treat (NNT), the Number Needed to Harm (NNH), have prompted some interesting discussion among ASA members (at the members-only discussion board, unfortunately).

MediterraneanDietNNTThe Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has a nice technical definition, fans of the NNT have posted a nice tutorial, and Steven Simon has a nice explanation of how to interpret NNT and NNH together. On the other hand, Dr Richard Goldstein at Vanderbilt University offers a webpage-sized grain of salt for interpreting NNT.

I, of course, smell a great homework assignment for my biostats students.

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