All LabLogs by Dr Rob

The End of Data Collection – so what happens next?

Now that we’ve entered the summer term it’s time to stop collecting the weekly school absence data. Did I just hear a sigh of relief? The national data suggest that whilst there is still small amounts of flu circulating, levels … Continue reading

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The week four blip

In week four there was an increase in the number of school absences, similar to a peak just before the Christmas holiday. Was this due to flu, or are there other possible explanations? It would be fair to say that … Continue reading

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Drawing DecipherMyData graphs – proceed with caution.

The way a graph is drawn can have a big influence on how the results are interpreted. In this lab log Dr Rob discusses some of the dangers in drawing graphs with DecipherMyData . Most of the analyses we’ll be doing … Continue reading

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Deciphering the data – influences of other viruses on absence levels

Infections other than flu could influence the school absence data. In this post, Dr Rob looks at whether two other common viruses influence DecipherMyData’s results. As some of you highlighted in the LabLogs, a big limitation with our school absence … Continue reading

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Missing data – the silent problem that’s finally causing a noise

Systematic reviews of research give more reliable evidence of the benefits and risks of treatments, yet they are often hampered by missing data. Dr Rob joins others in calling on drug companies to publish all their data and reassures that … Continue reading

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Flu scientists get colds too!

A few people at work have come down with colds over the last couple of weeks. So far I’ve managed to avoid getting unwell, possibly because my years of working on a hospital ward have left their mark in the … Continue reading

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Watching for flu – we need your data

The big news keeping us flu watchers busy this week is the new coronavirus contracted by a patient from the Middle East who recently arrived in the UK. We’re interested because it is new and the only other person known to have … Continue reading

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Flu over the summer

Decipher my data wasn’t collecting absence levels over the summer as schools were on holiday and there typically isn’t much flu around during this time. However, research and public health work preparing for the flu season goes on, so what … Continue reading

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Why season two is important

Hi! I’m Dr Rob, and I’m helping to run the flu project again this year. Just like last year, we can’t be sure what we will find, but we do think that it is important. Why flu is important In … Continue reading

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Blink and you could have missed it

Research projects tend to go on for a long time, but to me at least, this one has gone in a flash. It only seems like yesterday when we began collecting data from schools, but in fact we actually collected … Continue reading

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Does the timing of the school term effect the timing of flu pandemics?

Detecting the unpredictable: the start of a flu season

A variety of factors trigger a flu season, making it difficult to predict. We don’t fully understand these factors yet, let alone how they are linked. It’s because we can’t forecast the start of the season that we carry out … Continue reading

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HPA graph

The school holidays: a break in the data

The school holidays over Christmas might have given schools a welcomed break but they also stopped us from collecting data for couple of weeks. This is one of the main scientific limitations of this project, as it means we can’t … Continue reading

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How to make an epidemiologist happy

After months of planning and hard work we’ve got some data! There’s now a graph on the welcome page for you to look at, this is being updated with data as it comes in. Because it’s live data don’t be … Continue reading

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What’s been deciphered so far?

Before launching the Flu project across the country we wanted to test our data collection process.  One school kindly volunteered their illness absence data for the whole of last year, which is plotted in the graph. Here’s a quick explanation … Continue reading

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green light

The green light at end of the tunnel!

UCL’s ethics committee have now given Decipher My Data the green light for inviting schools to take part in the project. This is the result of 12 months of planning and preparation, including coming up with the project idea, finding … Continue reading

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