IHR Seminar: Don’t take it personally: careful causal analysis of claims for personalised medicine is long overdue

An Institute of Health Research seminar
Date4 July 2018
Time12:30 to 13:15
PlacePMS lecture theatre, RILD Building

Speaker: Professor Stephen Senn


From former prime-ministers to captains of industry, all are convinced of the great potential
for personalising the treatments of patients based on more and more measurement. A
premise of the argument is the evident variation of ‘response’ in clinical trials. I claim we know
much less about true causal variation than we think we do and that there is a surprising culprit
for our misunderstanding: the evidence based medicine movement and its obsession with
numbers needed to treat. I consider what we need to do to understand variation better and
what the implications are for public health.

Prof Senn has recently retired but has had a distinguished academic career as Professor of
Statistics at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (2011-2018) the University of Glasgow (2003-
2011) and University College London (1995-2003). In addition to working as an academic he
has also worked for the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland and the National Health
Service in England. He is the author of three books, Cross-over Trials in Clinical Research
(1993 & 2002), Statistical Issues in Drug Development (1997, 2007) and Dicing with Death
(2003). His expertise is in statistical methods for drug development and statistical inference.

IHR_Seminar_2018_07_Senn.pdf (68K)

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