What does CauseHealth mean by N=1?

by Roger Kerry

N=1” is a slogan used to publicise a core purpose of the CauseHealth project. N=1 refers to a project which is focussed on understanding causally important variables which may exist at an individual level, but which are not necessarily represented or understood through scientific inquiry at a population level. There is an assumption that causal variables are essentially context-sensitive, and as such although population data may by symptomatic of causal association, they do not constitute causation. The project seeks to develop existing scientific methods to try and better understand individual variations. In this sense, N=1 has nothing at all to do with acquiescing to “what the patient wants”, or any other similar fabricated straw-man characterisations of the notion which might emerge during discussions about this notion. (more…)


N=1 Reflections Roundup

by Samantha CopelandDSC_0033

I’d like to shout out a hearty thank you for the last two weeks’ contributions from the
participants in our January workshop, N=1: Causal Reasoning and Evidence for Clinical Practice! A diverse group of participants has given us a variety of things to think about, compliments to savour, and tough questions to ponder—thank for making February interesting too.

The role of meaning in (medical) science

Reflections by Adam Bjerre on N=1Campus25

The CauseHealth workshop at NMBU was a very different kind of workshop than I was used to as a practising and basically mechanistically trained physiotherapist. The gathering was much more abstract, more reflective and still tremendously engaging and relevant. It occurred to me how much the workshop highlighted the problem that still seems to haunt the medical sciences as well as the sciences in general, but the natural sciences in particular: the role of meaning in a material world or more precisely how (local, not global) meaning can be causally efficacious. (more…)

Prediction in medicine: philosophical reflections

Reflection by Jonathan Fuller on N=1IMG_4742

The final session of the CauseHealth N = 1 workshop explored prediction in medicine; it involved me and Alex Broadbent. Alex previously pointed out that the topic of prediction has scarcely been explored by philosophers, let alone the topic of prediction in epidemiology or medicine. Yet predictions are absolutely crucial for the practice of medicine. (more…)