Updated: 9/14/2019

Bias

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Review Topic
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Definition
  • A systematic error in collecting or interpreting observations
Types of Bias
  • Confounding 
    • A third factor is either positively or negatively associated with both the exposure and outcome
    • Confounders are not in the causal pathway
      • if not adjusted for can distort true association 
      • either towards or away from the null hypothesis
  • Selection bias
    • Nonrandom selection of study participants leads to erroneous conclusions
      • e.g. if investigating the adverse events associated with a new drug, those with either the best or worst outcomes may be more likely to participate in a telephone survey about their experience with drug
  • Measurement bias
    • Information is gathered in a way that distorts the information
      • Hawthorne Effect
        • subjects alter their behavior when they know they are being studied
  • Recall bias
    • Subjects with the disease are more likely to recall the exposure of interest
      • e.g. parents of children with cancer recall exposure to a chemical
  • Late-look bias
    • Patients with severe disease are less likely to be studied, because they die
      • e.g. a group of HIV+ individuals are all asymptomatic
  • Procedure bias
    • Different groups not treated the same
  • Lead-time bias
    • Early detection looks like increase in survival 
      • common with improved screening
  • Pygmalion effect
    • Investigator inadvertently conveys his high expectations to subjects, who then produce the expected result
    • A "self-fulfilling prophecy"
      • Golem Effect is the opposite: study subjects decrease their performance to meet low expectations of investigator.
  • Design bias
    • The control group is inappropriately non-comparable to the intervention group
  • Observer bias 
    • Investigator's evaluation is impacted by knowledge of exposure status
Ways to Reduce Bias
  • Randomization 
    • an intention-to-treat analysis is used in order to preserve randomization
      • analyzes all subjects regardless of protocol deviation 
  • Use placebo as control
  • Blind studies
    • Double blind is best
    • Double blinding means both investigators and subjects are blinded.  
  • Crossover studies
    • Subject acts as own control
    • Limits confounding
Examples of Effects that are Not Bias
  • Effect modification
    • Effect modification occurs when a third factor affects the magnitude of the relationship between the exposure and the disease
      • e.g. The increased risk of cancer in smokers is even higher among those who also drink heavily.  
      • NOT a type of bias
  • Latent period
    • The negative effects of a disease may take years to become clinically apparent
    • NOT a type of bias
  • Generalizability
    • the ability to use results from a study to draw conclusiosn about populations different than that used in the study
    • this is most problematic for studies that evaluate only a very specific population 
 

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Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Volume  
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Urine  
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2
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(M2.OMB.18.1) A pharmaceutical company conducts a randomized clinical trial in an attempt to show that their new anticoagulant drug prevents more thrombotic events following total knee arthroplasty than the current standard of care. However, a significant number of patients are lost to follow-up or fail to complete treatment according to the study arm to which they were assigned. Several patients in the novel drug arm are also switched at a later time to a novel anticoagulant or warfarin per their primary care physician. All patients enrolled in the study are subsequently analyzed based on the initial group they were assigned to and there is a significant improvement in outcome of the new drug. What analysis most appropriately describes this trial? Review Topic | Tested Concept

QID: 210435
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As treated

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(M2.OMB.18.1) Study X examined the relationship between coffee consumption and lung cancer. The authors of Study X retrospectively reviewed patients' reported coffee consumption and found that drinking greater than 6 cups of coffee per day was associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The same study in lab mice; however, did not come to a similar conclusion. Which of the following most likely explains the difference between these 2 studies? Review Topic | Tested Concept

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Confounding

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Lead time bias

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Measurement bias

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Observer bias

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Selection bias

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