I am an executive member of the Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis (APCO), a non-profit organization that aims at developing solutions to osteoporosis care in the Asia Pacific region. In this blog entry, I explore the relationship between osteoporotic fracture and mortality that is not widely appreciated in the medical community. This article was originally published on APCO website:

Fragility fracture is associated with increased mortality risk, but this relationship is not widely appreciated.

My neighbour, a 70-year old, physically active man, broke his hip after falling from a staircase. He was admitted to hospital for treatment, which cost more…


The unfortunate post-vaccinated death of a 48 yr old woman last week has raised concerns about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria). Here, I offer my interpretation of the risk in terms of micromort, and then my analysis of risk and benefit of the vaccination program.

Quantifying risk in micromort

The micromort concept was advanced by Ronald A. Howard in the 1980s for decision making. Basically, micromort (micro-mortality) is a way of representing probability of mortality for small and acute risks. Howard defined that a micromort is one-in-a-million chance of dying. So, if an activity that is associated with…


It is well established that patients with a hip fracture have increased mortality risk. A recent analysis of Norway registry data by my friend, Haakon Meyer, and his colleagues show that hip fracture patients living alone would suffer a greater risk of death than those living with a partner [1]. However, having read the paper, I have come up with another interpretation: yes, living alone was associated with increased mortality risk, but the impact of hip fracture on mortality was greater than living alone.

To me, the data shown in Figure 1 of the paper are the most revealing ones…


For decades, stem cell therapy and stem cell research have generated much hope and controversy for the public and scientific community alike. While the controversy is still raging, the publication of ‘Flesh Made New’, a popular science book, is a timely contribution. In this book, hematologist and stem cell expert John Rasko teamed up with historian and writer Carl Power to chart the 100-year history of stem cell research, and the result is a mesmerising narrative of successes, failures, promises, even frauds.

Dr. Carl Power (left) and Professor John Rasko (right), authors of ‘Flesh Made New.’ Photo: raskolab.com.au

Most of us are no stranger to stem cells. Over the past 10 years or so, stem cell…


It is my great pleasure to introduce my latest work [1] concerning the relationship between fracture and mortality. In this paper we wanted to redefine the concept of fracture risk that includes fracture risk and mortality risk, and to transform the risks into “Skeletal Age”.

We have known for some time that a bone fracture is associated with mortality. The risk of mortality after a hip fracture is increased by 2.9-fold (95% CI, 2.5 to 3.3) in women and 3.7-fold (3.3 to 4.1) in men. Moreover, about 30% of patients with a hip fracture will die within 12 months.

In…


On this Australia Day (26/1) exactly 39 years ago I came to Australia as a refugee. It has been a long and winding journey, but I have survived and made meaningful contributions to this beautiful country that I call home. On 26/1 people are talking about ‘invasion day’, but I am talking about a personal Thanksgiving day. My story started with a hilarious interview in Songkhla Refugee Camp (Thailand) 40 years ago.

Leaving Vietnam

On April 16, 1981, my elder brother, my sister, I and 20 friends left Vietnam in a wooden fishing boat heading toward Thailand. Some friends were…


Norwegian health authority reported that 33 people had died after receiving the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine [1]. The news has generated concern and even fear among the general community. However, my evaluation suggests that the fear is not founded.

It is hard to make sense out of the 33 deaths without knowing the number of vaccinated people. According to The Age, Norway has vaccinated approximately 42,000 elderly people, mostly in nursing homes. Thus, the one-week risk of mortality is 0.078%.

Is the 0.078% risk too high? No. In a study published in PLoS ONE, the investigators followed 690…


Australian experts are debating about the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine. Some argue that the efficacy (VE) of the vaccine is not good enough for herd immunity; others say that it is better than … face mask. I think the debate has been misled by the heavy reliance on the average. In this note, I want to make 3 comments on the true value of VE and its implication for herd immunity.

Australia is about to implement a COVID-19 vaccine program, with Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being the intervention of choice. It is expected that up to 80,000 people will be vaccinated by…


The 2020 Vietnam’s beauty contest has concluded, and Miss Đỗ Thị Hà has been crowned Miss Vietnam 2020 [1]. The 19 yr old girl stands at a proud 175 cm tall, but her weight was only 55 kg. She and her fellow beauty contestants are classified as ‘underweight’.

I have over the years collected data pertaining to basic anthropometric parameters of Miss Vietnam titleholders. The data show that their height has increased over time. …


In the famous study, DANMASK, the authors conclude that wearing surgical mask together with social distancing practice did not reduce the risk of SARS-Cov-2 infection. However, using a Bayesian inference, I show that their result is consistent with a risk reduction of up to 28%.

Rarely a scientific study generates a lot of controversies, but that is the case for the DANMASK study [1]. In this study, the authors found that face mask wearing did not reduce the risk of infection with SARS-Cov-2 (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.54 to 1.23; P = 0.33) [1]. However, most newspapers and health…

Tuan Nguyen

osteoporosis | epidemiology | genetics | biostatistics | data enthusiast

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