[ RadSafe ] Cohen's radon results differently

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Tue Sep 20 18:49:38 CDT 2011

Hi, Chris.  

I believe this is indeed a reasonable consideration.  Long ago I heard a
story about an anti-nuke group that tried to get a nuclear power plant
shut down a couple of years after start-up by showing that there had
been a substantial increase in the number of deaths in the county the
plant was located in.  A closer look at the data showed the correct
correlation was an increase in the number of deaths in the county and
the opening of a new hospital, in part funded by the power plant.  The
new hospital not only served a county that previously had no hospital,
but also several surrounding counties that had no hospital.  I don't
remember the name of the plant, so I can't check on the validity of this
story, but neither the statistics not the alleged misrepresentation by
the antis strike me as unreasonable. 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Chris Hofmeyr
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:01 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
List; Bernard L. Cohen
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Cohen's radon results differently

Mike Brennan, prof Cohen,

The thought has crossed my mind whether specifically some lung cancer
in small population counties might migrate to larger centres for
treatment and
care prior to their death being recorded there. On the other hand, lung
(LC) mortality against the county rank of population size follows the
trend against the same. The enormous range of county population (700 to
million)is selectively (and fortuitously) condensed in the rank plot
such that
the LC and smoking plots are ~linear.

chris.hofmeyr at webmail.co.za 

On Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:20:35 -0400 "Bernard L. Cohen" <blc at pitt.edu>

> My analyses excluded the retirement states, Florida, California, and
> Arizona, although including them did not change the results. I did
> present evidence that movement of people was not a serious problem,
> I do not remember the details; it gave data on distance from death
> location to where most of their lives were spent. I can look this up
> you consider it to be very important.
> On 9/19/2011 7:20 PM, Brennan, Mike (DOH) wrote:
> > Another confounder, I would expect, is the movement of people.  For
> > example, my in-laws moved to a retirement home near us, about two
> > before my mother-in-law died (not of cancer).  Any statistics pegged
> > the county in which she died would introduce error into any study
> > than one about end-of-life care, as the conditions in this county
> > nothing to do with here long term health.  I would estimate that
> > over half of the people at this large retirement facility are from
> > of the county, and not a few from out of the state.  This effect has
> > be even greater for places like Florida.
> >
> > The unlikely political bedfellows of Hilary Clinton and Newt
> > have teamed up to support a national health records program (though
> > neither has spoken much about it recently).  The cost savings, both
> > lives and in money, would be substantial, but I see even greater
> > possibilities in terms of being able to get MUCH better data for
> > such as this.  Imagine if instead of estimates of smoking prevalence
> > could CONTROL for smoking habits of the case and control cohorts.
> >
> > There are people who contend that such a system is too much of an
> > intrusion into privacy, and that the couple tens of thousands of
> > who die each year due to incomplete or inaccessible medical records
is a
> > fair price to pay.  While I don't think they are right, I think they
> > will probably win until the Facebook generation takes the lead.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
> > [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Bernard L.
> > Cohen
> > Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 3:55 PM
> > To: Chris Hofmeyr
> > Cc: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu; WesVanPelt at verizon.net
> > Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Cohen's radon results differently
> >
> > To do anything, I would need some credible source of smoking
> > data. I tried several and they did not change my results. Please
> >
> > an alternative.
> >
> > On 9/18/2011 3:31 PM, Chris Hofmeyr wrote:
> >>
> >> Radsafers,
> >> On 19th June Howard Long challenged my reminder that in Cohen's
> > US-wide study
> >> of domestic radon and lung cancer, there was, on average, a
> >> correlation between Cohen's smoking prevalence and the average
> > radon
> >> concentration. Howard wanted numbers.
> >> On 20th June prof Cohen invited further discussion of his work.  
> > etc.

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