For an exercise, I have been given a measurement of mineral density at
two points of time. The task is to ascertain the rate of loss of
mineral density and estimate the change across the two points.
If the data were categorical, I would know how to calculate
incidence/risk rates, but I don't know how to obtain rates for
continous data. How would the rate of loss be ascertained in this
context? I am using SPSS. 
Request for Question Clarification by
raisingmyhandga
on
11 Dec 2003 18:41 PST
hi,
It sounds like there are two parts to the exercise
1) Rate of density loss: To calculate the rate of loss of mineral
density, you will want to subtract density#2 from density#1 and then
divide by the time between the two time points.
2)You want to estimate the "change across the two points." Can you
clarify what you mean by this? It sounds like you are looking for a
statistical test here, and I'm not sure what hypothesis you would be
testing. Or did you just need to calculate the rate of loss?
Thanks,
RMH

Clarification of Question by
gareth981ga
on
14 Dec 2003 09:18 PST
The null hypothesis would be that there is no different between the
measurements at time 1 and time 2, but I'm not sure if this is same as
the "rate". Is it possible to test the significance of a rate of loss?

Request for Question Clarification by
raisingmyhandga
on
14 Dec 2003 23:53 PST
I think you can just run a paired ttest on the mean density at time 1
vs. the mean density at time 2. If the pvalue is significant there
was a significant change.
It's a little strange to ask whether a rate of change is significant.
You could ask whether the rate of change is significantly different
from some other rate of change, but in this case the real question
seems to be, Was the rate of change different than zero, was there
really a change? So if you found a significant difference in the
density, I think you can say that the rate of change was
"significant."
A more natural way to summarize your findings would be to say that
there was a significant change, and the estimated rate of change was
xx ounces per year plus or minus your standard deviation.
Let me know if this helps. If not, maybe you could post your values
and the question as it appears in the exercise.
Regards,
RMH

Clarification of Question by
gareth981ga
on
15 Dec 2003 10:05 PST
That answers my question thanks, I'll do a ttest and get 95%
confidence limits for each timepoint.
