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May 22, 1967


JAMA. 1967;200(8):21-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120210011003

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The widely-held belief that the rate of arteriosclerotic heart disease in women is affected by the menopause is based, at least in part, upon a common statistical error, an Oregon pathologist says.

The error arises out of a mathematically invalid way of comparing the male to female heart disease death rates says Richard E. Tracy, MD, PhD, associate professor, University of Oregon Medical School.

(The conclusions drawn by Dr. Tracy do not involve new data, but represent a different method of analyzing vital statistics than that often employed in past studies. Moreover, the question of the validity of such statistics is not a consideration, since the point at issue is a procedural one.)

It is a well established fact that the heart disease rate in both men and women increases with age. When comparisons are made, however, of the disease rates in men and women for various age levels, it