Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Information hiding in plain sight

From a study by New York University looking at diabetes rates in various parts of New York.

The whisker chart shown above breaks down diabetes rates by sub-groups.  Both Type 1 Diabetes (insufficient insulin production) and Type 2 Diabetes (cellular resistance to insulin) are broken out.

Two anomalies jump out at me.  They show "data" for children for people listed as "elderly".  One would expect that to be null or to be assigned a value of 1.0 as a place holder.

The third whisker shows that Childhood, Type 1 Diabetes is 70% higher in Higher Income families than it is for the overall population.

The other anomaly is high level of Type 1 Diabetes in High Income people.  The only group that registers higher are children living in "The Fast Food Swamp".  Nearly every other subgroup shows rates that are very, very close to 1.0, which is what one would expect of a genetic condition and very large sample sizes.

The glaring question should be: Are children of High Income families over-diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes or are other children under-diagnosed.

Could be a case of "you won't find it if you are not looking for it."?

1 comment:

  1. My experience with children and diabetes over 25 years as a certified diabetes educator was that yes, Type 1 kids do seem to appear in higher middle class families, no idea why, unless it is that they tend to have better health care and their parents are more likely to get them to a doctor quickly enough. When a Type 1 is diagnosed, it tends to be emergent. If not caught and dealt with rapidly, kids die.
    The lower income folks "The Fast Food Swamp" kids are by and large Type 2 diabetics. Twenty years ago you never saw a Type 2 under the age of 60. However that has dropped rapidly, thanks to an expansion of lousy eating habits, no vegetables, and LOTS of screen time instead of exercise/activity.
    Diabetes is also more prevalent in some ethnic groups than others. Type 1 is common in folks whose ancestors came from Scandinavian countries. Type 2 is very common in Pacific Rim countries (Japan, Indonesia, China, etc), then Hispanics, and then in African-Americans. White, WASP types have a lower incidence. But everyone's risk goes up as their weight goes up and activity goes down. as their age goes up, or if they are women, if they had a baby who weighed over 8# at birth. The baby also has an increased risk of developing diabetes (Type2) later on.
    Type 2 also has a huge genetic component, and picking a different set of parents is not something any of us get a do-over on.
    So, move more, eat more vegetables, eat smaller portions of everything else, and pick the right family for best outcomes.