BME100 s2014:W Group11 L1
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LAB 1 WRITE-UP
Independent and Dependent Variables
This experiment is designed to determine the lowest possible dosage of LPS administered to elderly patients that will cause an increase in the production of the protein Inflammotin. The independent variable in this experiment is the amount of lipopolysaccharide given to the subjects. This is because it is the variable that is manipulated in order to cause a change in Inflammotin levels in the subjects. The dependent variable in the study is the change in Inflammotin produced in the test subjects. This is because it is not directly changed, but is affected by the manipulated variable, and it is the desired data for study.
For the purposes of this experiment, "elderly" subjects will be defined as people whose age falls in the range of 50 years or older. Considering that the average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 80 years, 50 year-olds have been determined to fall outside of the scope of middle age.
Number of subjects per group
Each group will be comprised of ten individual test subjects so as to provide enough data to increase the probability of statistical significance.
In order to ensure a random and representative sample of the elderly population, volunteer applications for participation in the study were distributed to all patients over 50 who visited the university hospital in the past year. Help was enlisted from the hospital administration, and no incentive was offered for volunteers. Tbe university hospital was selected due to the great number and diversity of people who visit. To add to the number and diversity of the sample, applications were also mailed statewide to seniors through the AARP. Applications were divided based on gender and given reference numbers. A random numbers generator was used to select the subjects so that each group is comprised of five males and five females.
Sources of Error and Bias
A possible source of error for this study is resultant of the sampling methods used. Though maximum randomization was attempted, the test subjects were all applicants for the study. Since no incentive was offered, these subjects are not necessarily representative of the people who did not choose to offer their services. In addition, subjects were reached through the organizations of the university hospital and the AARP. The subjects reached through the hospital are not necessarily representative of the healthier elderly population, and those reached through the AARP are not necessarily representative of the elderly population who would not pay membership fees or who are politically apathetic. Finally, our sample size could be a source of error because of the limitations of the resources available. Ideally, a larger sample size would be used to provide more accurate and representative results. Despite limitations, the randomization of applicants and the use of more than one source of subjects act as controls for the study. The sheer number of applications accrued also acts as a control factor because it increases the chances of randomness in the study and therefore representation.