discussion board 728

Discussion Board Question Number 2

A fundamental ethical problem in

statistics arises in experimentation (i.e., in the context of studies of

experimental drugs for treating AIDS). On one side, organizations such

as the National Institute of Health insist on randomly assigning

treatments such as flipping a coin for each patient to decide which

treatment to assign.

The advantage of randomized experiments is

that they allow reliable conclusions without the need to worry about

lurking variables. However, some groups of AIDS patients have opposed

randomization, instead making the argument that each patient should be

assigned the best available treatment (or to be more precise, whatever

treatment is currently believed to be the best). The ethical dilemma is

to balance the benefits to the patients in the study (who would like the

opportunity to choose among available treatments) with future patients

(who would be served by learning as soon as possible about the

effectiveness of the competing treatments).

The issue is

complicated. On one hand, the randomized study is most trustworthy if

all the patients in the study participate. If they are not treated

respectfully, the patients might go outside the study and try other

drugs, which could bias the estimates of treatment effects. On the other

hand, the patients might benefit from being in an experimental study.

Even if the treatment is randomized, the patients are getting close

medical attention from the researchers. Current best practice is to

design studies so that all subjects will be expected to benefit in some

way, but still keeping the randomized element. For example, a study can

compare two potentially beneficial experimental treatments, rather than

comparing a treatment to an inert “control.” However, there will always

be conflicts of interest between the patients in the study, the

scientists conducting it, and the public at large.

In your

original post, compare and contrast at least two research designs that

might be used to research life threatening diseases/disorders. At least

one design should present ethical issues and at least one design should

minimize potential ethical issues. Provide at least one Scripture

passage that supports your ethical perspectives on medical/public health

research.

Your thread is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday and your two replies are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

Discussion Question Number 3

Consider the following three scenarios:

1. Suppose you work for an organization that runs tests for life-threatening diseases and then discusses the results with their patients. You have just tested a 45 year old male patient, father of six, and according to the test he is terminally ill. Statistics shows that the man has seven months to live.

2. Your 31 year old daughter, who for five years has been underemployed and unemployed, announces she has secured a stable and high paying job as Director of Operations for a Colorado Marijuana facility.

3. You are working for a foreign government that has had a disease epidemic in a certain region of their country which has led to the deaths of three million children. The disease is spread by mosquitos, and the only quick and sure way to stop the epidemic is to spray Chemical H on the jungle environments where the mosquitos live. Spraying the chemical will lead to environmental issues for 20 years.

Pick one of the above scenarios and in that context, explain how your knowledge of biostatistics might inform how you address the situation and how you might advance a Biblical worldview. Fell free to add details or assumptions left ambiguous in the prompt.

Your thread is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday and your two replies are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.


 
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