Read the article ``Beliefs reported to shorten life" and answer the following questions:
1. The article states that Chinese-American cancer patients born in earth years survive for 67.61 years, but those born in non-earth years live for 69.21 years. What would you have to know to judge if this is a significant difference?
2. Can you think of beliefs in your own culture that might have the effect of shortening, or for that matter, extending a person's life? If so, what kind of study could be carried out to test your theory?
3. ``The study found that Chinese-Americans who have a combination of disease and birth year that astrologers considered ill-fated die early by 1.3 to 4.9 years." Dr. Phillips suggest that the explanation is psychosomatic beliefs. Can you think of an alternative explanation for these differences?
4. Luck - good and bad - is often associated with astrology. What is luck? How is it related to chance? Could luck be studied by experiments and mathematics as we are studying chance?
The New York Times article was based upon the article ``Psychology and survival" in Lancet. Read this article and comment in your journal on how good a job you felt that the reporter did in describing the results of the research. Do you see ways that the New York Times article could have been improved?
Dr. John Baron will talk to the class next Tuesday Nov. 16 to tell us what goes on behind the scenes in do a clinical trials study. He will use as an example a study that he worked on related to effectiveness of beta carotene in preventing cancers of the skin. We have given you a copy of his paper and would like you to read this before Tuesday.