Simply Statistics A statistics blog by Rafa Irizarry, Roger Peng, and Jeff Leek

Dissecting the genomics of trauma

Today the results of a study I’ve been involved with for a long time (read: since my early graduate school days) came out in PLoS Medicine (also Princeton News coverage, Eurekalert press release).

We looked at gene expression profiles - how much each of your 20,000 genes is turned on or turned off - in patients who had experienced blunt force trauma. Using these profiles we were able to distinguish very early on which of the patients were going to have positive or negative health trajectories. The idea was to compare patients to themselves and see how much their genomic profiles deviated from the earliest measurements.

I’m excited about this paper for a couple of reasons: (1) like we say in the paper, “Trauma is the number one killer of individuals 1-44y of age in the United States”, (2) the communicating author and joint first authors, Keyur Desai and Chuen Seng Tan, on the paper were statisticians, highlighting the important role statistics played in the scientific process. 

Update:  If you want to check out the data/analyze them yourself, there is a website explaining how to access the data & code here