Archive for the ‘Statistics’ Category

Dormivigilia’s “Official” Website
November 18, 2009

A birthday present from www.montegraphia.com.

Bookmark it!: http://www.dormivigilia.com

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No Crash Pads for Pilots
August 13, 2009

This post is not about the tragic plane crash over the Hudson river, killing 9 people. This post is about the efficacious of crash pads; small-scale dormitories supplanted in metropolis and designed to provide trans-America pilots with some “decent” shut-eye. I applaud the Federal Aviation Administration for realizing that sleep is vital and incredibly dangerous without; sleep-deprived drivers, pilots, doctors, and laborers make more errors and have more lapses of attention than drunken ones.

As for the crash pads, the Washington Post recently critiqued their efficacy, and didn’t have a Siskel and Ebert approval of two thumbs up. This is not surprisingly, since; 1) most required co-in habitation with other pilots, which can certainly be a hindrance of sound sleep (i.e. spouses); and 2) the dorms were not equipped for minimizing sunlight.

Back to the drawing board FAA. In the meantime, disrupted, shortened sleep has to be better than no sleep, right?

Time for a Nap!
August 7, 2009

According to a recent poll published by the National Sleep Foundation, one third of Americans take naps. This is enlightening, considering most sleep reports focus on work-related and chronic sleep deprivation. A 20 min nap not only combats sleepiness, particularly for drowsy drivers, but also improves memory, performance, and emotional valence, especially if the nap includes REM sleep. The latter findings are recent investigations from Dr. Matt Walker’s lab at Berekeley (see blog entry “Sleep Improves Memory and Performance…DUH!” for more information).

Word of advice: Napping is awesome, but don’t nap in the company of friends like Eric Cartman.

Where Not to Sleep
July 22, 2009

An airport, of course. But which airports are the least sleep-friendly?  Three of the airports on the list (JFK, Chicago O’Hare, and Heathrow, I have slept overnight in the past). Of these, JFK was the most horrendous; I slept on a plastic sofa at a sushi bar in the food court. After attempting to fall asleep around midnight, I was awakened at 3 by the janitorial staff. Below is a picture from the overnight my labmates and I had a month ago in Chicago Midway. We were all flying back from our West Coast trips (see previous blog entries). At least this airport gave us cots, blankets, and pillows! But, they didn’t have a Cinnabon….

Glass lab sleep over in the airport!

The pouting ensues

How Not To Do Science (or Stats)
January 31, 2009

A few months ago, I read the Bible (of sleep and circadian research): Nathaniel Kleitman’s Sleep and Wakefulness. Though I was most intrigued by the vast differences in methodologies pre and post the 20th century, Kleitman’s commentary on “Kohlschuetter’s curve” was similarly salient:

Kohlschuetter decided that the curve depicting thresholds of arousal from acoustical stimuli throughout the progression of NREM sleep should be of normal distribution, and hence, bell-shaped. Therefore, Kohlschuetter excluded 33 of 74 (about 45 percent) observations from his analyses because these observations deviated from the normal distribution, bell-shaped curve he predicted.

Ironically enough, this curve was referred to as “Kohlschuetter’s curve,” and remained in press until a more honest statistician discovered Kohlschuetter’s malignant “mistake.” We now know, of course, that the curve of thresholds of arousal from acoustical stimuli throughout NREM is nearly linear and positive as I have graphed below:

Stage 1 sleep is characterized by light sleep (i.e imagine sleep that ensues while reading a book or gazing out the car window), stage 2 is deeper (i.e an afternoon cat nap), while stages 3 and 4 are the deepest stages of NREM sleep (i.e. remember how difficult it is to awake a 10 year old)

The CORRECT AND ACTUAL CURVE: Stage 1 sleep is characterized by light sleep (i.e imagine sleep that ensues while reading a book or gazing out the car window), stage 2 is deeper (i.e an afternoon cat nap), while stages 3 and 4 are the deepest stages of NREM sleep (i.e. remember how difficult it is to awake a 10 year old)

Moreover, can you imagine how this manner of analyzing data would transform a result section of any primary literature?!! There would be no “trends towards significance” or “approached, but did not reach significance,” or “neared significance,” no, there would just be significance (and infinite amounts of Type I errors).

HONESTY AND ACCURACY, HONESTY AND ACCURACY….