Statistical Literacy


David Lane

Low HDL and Niacin



A low level of HDL have long been known to be a risk factor for heart disease. Taking niacin has been shown to increase HDL levels and has been recommended for patients with low levels of HDL. The assumption of this recommendation is that niacin causes HDL to increase thus causing a lower risk for heart disease.


What experimental design involving niacin would test whether the relationship between HDL and heart disease is causal?

What do you think?

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