What are n-of-1 trials, and what are they good for?

An n-of-1 trial is a experiment conducted for a single person in which treatment blocks are randomly rotated, symptoms are systematically logged, and results are statistically analyzed. Since many treatments work differently for individuals, n-of-1 trials help determine a treatment’s efficacy for a specific individual. N-of-1 trials are typically used for chronic conditions and are not considered appropriate for acute illnesses.

Eleven cognitive biases and statistical errors that can interfere with finding the best treatment

Most people’s tests of potential treatments for chronic conditions involve haphazard cycling through doses and brands, spotty symptom diaries and no statistical analysis of results. This lack of rigor introduces numerous cognitive biases.

What’s a good duration for a treatment block in a personal experiment?

The literature on treatment blocks says broadly that blocks may be shorter for faster acting treatments (a one day treatment might be appropriate for pain and aspirin) and longer for treatments that have a slow, cumulative effect. But digging into the literature for both RTCs and n-of-1 experiments, you find a wide variety of treatment […]

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