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# A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion

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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussions by reading the brain's electrical signals and comparing them to a database of 15,000 scans compiled at a brain research lab. The device is intended to help doctors decide whether an athlete who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the device for its intended purpose?

A. Whether the database of brain scans will regularly be updated with new scans
B. Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends
C. Whether the device will be endorsed by a large number of medical professionals
D. Whether the database includes scans of non-injured athletes in the same game as the injured athlete
E. Whether team doctors have until now been mistaken in their assessments of whether an athlete can safely continue to play

CR78551.01

Official Explanation

Argument Evaluation

Which one of the answer choices would most help in determining whether the device is effective for its intended purpose?

A handheld scanning device has been developed to read brain signals and determine the severity of a concussion. The intended purpose of this device is to help doctors decide whether an athlete who has received a blow to the head during competition can be allowed back into the game.

A. If the database is regularly updated, it might increase the effectiveness of the device in the future. This is not relevant to answering whether the device will help doctors make medical decisions during games.

B. Correct. If the answer is yes, then the device is effective for its intended purpose. If the answer is no, then the device is not effective for its intended purpose: to help doctors make sound decisions about whether athletes who have suffered a head blow can safely resume play during a game.

C. Endorsement by medical professionals might help marketing of the device, but it is not directly relevant to deciding whether the device is technically suitable for its intended purpose. Simply being a medical professional does not necessarily make one an expert on such issues; that is, medical professionals in general are not involved in deciding whether athletes who have received a head blow in a game can safely resume play in the game.

D. In order to be technically useful, the database would have to be representative of functioning brains in a variety of activities. This includes both normally functioning brains and abnormally functioning brains. Note that even if this condition is met, it would not be sufficient to decide on whether the device is adequate for its intended purpose.

E. Previous mistakes by team doctors implies a genuine need for the device. However, this issue is separate from the issue of whether the device itself can help doctors make sound decisions. That is, while such a device may be needed, it is possible that this particular device still does not effectively help doctors make the decision to send athletes back into the game.

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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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What do we have to evaluate?

Will the device be effective for its intended purpose ?

Q: what is the intended purpose of the device?

answer :The device is intended to help doctors decide whether an athlete who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game.
Gmat loves to play with the word INTENDED. The device is intended to do so something. But will the device definitely do what it is intended to do ?
This is the logical gap we need to bridge

Answer B Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends
If the device is only not able to help doctors decide then what's the use of the device. Now remember the device is INTENDED to help the doctors make a sound decision. But is it actually helping the doctors make a sound decision ? no weakens the conclusion
Yes strengthens the conclusion

Key takeaway : The word intention plays a crucial role in the argument. So whenever you see this word on gmat evaluate type question you should remember that there is a difference between intention and doing the actual thing.

Hope this helps.
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A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]

My initial instinct to this question was that the intent of the device is to determine the "seriousness" of the player's injury and accordingly to decide whether he can be sent back to the field or be sent to the hospital for further treatment. Accordingly, I felt that option E (which states the effectiveness of the device would depend upon whether doctors up till now have been able to do the same equally effectively) was the best fit. If doctors are able to diagnose the extent of the injury equally effectively, then they would not need the machine at all and consequently it would not be used.

Option B views it only from the perspective of sending the player back to the field before the game ends, which limits the machine's use only to non-serious injuries, whereas option E considers both scenarios (serious and non-serious injuries) and whether doctors have correctly diagnosed in those cases up to now.

Please suggest whether option E covers a "broader" scenario than option B here.
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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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My initial instinct to this question was that the intent of the device is to determine the "seriousness" of the player's injury and accordingly to decide whether he can be sent back to the field or be sent to the hospital for further treatment. Accordingly, I felt that option E (which states the effectiveness of the device would depend upon whether doctors up till now have been able to do the same equally effectively) was the best fit. If doctors are able to diagnose the extent of the injury equally effectively, then they would not need the machine at all and consequently it would not be used.

Option B views it only from the perspective of sending the player back to the field before the game ends, which limits the machine's use only to non-serious injuries, whereas option E considers both scenarios (serious and non-serious injuries) and whether doctors have correctly diagnosed in those cases up to now.

Please suggest whether option E covers a "broader" scenario than option B here.

The "effectiveness of the device" depends on whether the device will be able to tell accurately or not (or whether doctors will be able to deduce accurately from it or not). Whether doctors have been mistaken till now is irrelevant to the device's effectiveness. What if the doctors have not been mistaken till now? They could be mistaken in the future. We are not given that doctors can tell anyway, even without the device whether athletes should be allowed to play.

As for the scope of (B), it covers exactly what it is meant to.

The argument tells us "The device is intended to help doctors decide whether an athlete who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game."
So device will be effective if it can do this.
The scope of (B) is exactly the same.
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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussions by reading the brain's electrical signals and comparing them to a database of 15,000 scans compiled at a brain research lab. The device is intended to help doctors decide whether an athlete who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the device for its intended purpose?

A. Whether the database of brain scans will regularly be updated with new scans - Though 'regularly' is relevant to our cause but updating scans in future after the scans have been done on athlete is out of scope. It would not answer our query whether doctors can decide to send the athlete back into the game.
B. Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends - CORRECT. The key words that match in this option and the passage are 'back into the game' and 'before it ends'. This option keeps the time frame of the passage without leaving the scope. Had the key words 'before it ends' were not been there, the option would not not have worked out as the decision to send the athlete back taken after the game would have been irrelevant.
C. Whether the device will be endorsed by a large number of medical professionals - Again an easy elimination. Endorsements are generally paid - large or small. There's an equally likely chances that the same doctor who endorsed the device may or may not find the device helpful in deciding whether to send the athlete back into the game.
D. Whether the database includes scans of non-injured athletes in the same game as the injured athlete - Athletes non-injured in the same game would still be playing the game. There scans are last the doctors are going to refer to know whether to send the athlete back into the game. They need injured athletes' scans with reasonable numbers at least.
E. Whether team doctors have until now been mistaken in their assessments of whether an athlete can safely continue to play - Two reasons make this one incorrect. 1) What happened before these scans or handheld device came into existence is not relevant to answer the effectiveness of the device. 2) Whether doctors were mistaken or not in their assessment is again not relevant. Even, today, if they are mistaken or not does not matter. What matters is whether the doctors are able to asses the severity of concussions using the device within the time frame as given in the passage.

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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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Argument Analysis:

New handheld device -
a) the claim is that it will be able to determine the severity of a concussion
b) it will be able to do this by reading the electrical signals from a brain of a person who has suffered a blow to the head and comparing them to a database of 15000 scans from a brain research lab
c) the device is intended to help doctors on the field decide whether an athlete who has been hit on the head should be sent back to the game, or not

Question:
What will help us evaluate the usefulness of the device for its intended purpose?

Prethinking:

Conclusion to evaluate - the device will help doctors decide whether an athlete who has been hit on the head should be sent back to the game, or not

In what scenario would the device not really serve the intended purpose?

What if 1500 scans is not sufficient for a proper and accurate reading from the device? Then this device cannot be trusted. It reduces the belief that this device will be able to help doctors make an effective decision.

Statement: Whether 15000 scans is a sufficient number of scans for the device to give accurate results?

If YES - increases our belief
if NO - reduces our belief

Option Choice Analysis:

A. Whether the database of brain scans will regularly be updated with new scans
It does not help validate the argument. For all we know, 15000 scans which are already in the database are more than sufficient. Whether the database gets regularly updated is not relevant to the argument about whether the device, as it stands, will achieve its purpose

B. Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends
Correct. Not exactly what we pre-thought (different point), but still the correct answer here. Let us apply the variance test.

If YES - Doctors will be able to make a proper decision based on this device i.e. the device is effective for its intended purpose.
If NO - Doctors will not be able to make a proper decision based on this device. It reduces our belief in the notion that the device will be able to achieve its intended purpose.

This option seems correct.

C. Whether the device will be endorsed by a large number of medical professionals
Irrelevant. Endorsement of the device may help get more sales, but it tells us nothing about whether the device is effective for its intended purpose.

D. Whether the database includes scans of non-injured athletes in the same game as the injured athlete
This can be a tricky option. A database for comparing level/severity of concussion in all probability should include scans of non injured (0 concussion) cases all the way to highest extremes of concussion. So, a database of this type is a necessity. But just because a necessary condition is met, do we have any idea if the device is effective? There could be other important necessary conditions to make the device effective. There is a difference between the device being operational/usable to the device being effective. So, we are not sure. It may still weakly increase our belief in the conclusion, though. So let us hold on to this for a while

Now - "in the same game". Is this required? We have no idea if scans of non injured athletes has to be from the same game (say rugby). Why not from another sport like Ice Hockey? If scans are from different games, will it impact the quality of the scans? the impact is unclear. This is a red flag as far as option D is concerned.

Let us apply the variance test

If YES - the database includes scans of non-injured athletes from the same game, and injured athletes.
- Non injured scans are definitely important for the device to work, but we are not sure how much it will help with regard to effectiveness. At best, this mildly increases our belief. At worst, it has no real impact on effectiveness. Lets hold on to this for now.

If NO - the database does not include scans of non-injured athletes from the same game, and injured athletes.
- Even in such a case, maybe the database has scans of "non-injured" athletes from other games (say, ice hockey instead of rugby). And for 0 concussion/non injury cases, for all we know, this is more than enough to make the device effective.

In other words, this option fails the variance test. Even if the YES side increases our belief (albeit weakly), it is very possible that the NO side does not decrease belief.

Hence option D is not correct.

E. Whether team doctors have until now been mistaken in their assessments of whether an athlete can safely continue to play
Previous mistakes are not relevant to evaluating whether now, with the help of this device, the doctors will be able to make a sound decision. Irrelevant.

Hope this helps.

Regards
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A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
Here is my issue with this question. Time after time, we have been told to pay close attention to the language/detail in CR questions.

The problem statement says "...who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game" -- i.e we believe that the purpose of this device is to be able to determine whether to send the athlete back into the very game he/she got injured.

B. Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends

The above bolded section in choice B states whether the doctors should send back the athlete into the competition before it ends...not the game. I.e, isn't the wording on this not accurate? Who knows how long the competition lasts?

Bunuel, VeritasKarishma, GMATNinja -- would appreciate your feedback on my comment here.

Originally posted by nihardesai192 on 03 Sep 2021, 12:26.
Last edited by nihardesai192 on 04 Sep 2021, 17:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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Here is my issue with this question. Time after time, we have been told to pay close attention to the language/detail in CR questions.

The problem statement says "...who has received a blow to the head during a competition should be sent back into the game" -- i.e we believe that the purpose of this device is to be able to determine whether to send the athlete back into the very game he/she got injured.

B. Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends

The above bolded section in choice B states whether the doctors should send back the athlete into the competition before it ends...not the game. I.e, isn't the wording on this not accurate? Who knows how long the competition lasts?

Bunuel, VeritasKarishma, GMATNinja -- would appreciate your feedback on my comment here.

"Game" and "competition" are synonyms until and unless we are given otherwise. It just means that the device will help the doctors to take a call about the immediate course of action.

Also, if you were to make a distinction between the two, the options need to make that distinction. Since we don't have an option that says:
"Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the game before it ends"
we are pretty safe in our selection of option (B).
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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
The best choice here is (B) "Whether by use of this device doctors will be able to make a sound decision about whether to allow an athlete back into the competition before it ends".

The main goal of the device, as stated in the passage, is to assist doctors in deciding if an injured athlete should rejoin a game after a blow to the head. Therefore, the effectiveness of the device for this specific purpose would best be evaluated by determining if it indeed allows doctors to make accurate decisions within the necessary time frame.

Other choices might be useful information to have, but they don't directly speak to the device's effectiveness for the intended purpose. For example, while updating the database (choice A) or endorsements by professionals (choice C) might enhance the device's credibility, they don't directly address whether the device can accurately and timely help doctors make the crucial return-to-play decisions.
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A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
Hi @KarishmaB/@GMATIntensive and other experts, Kindly can you confirm if ellipsis playing role in option D ?

D. Whether the database includes scans of non-injured athletes in the same game as It includes scans of the injured athlete.

If the options rewritten as 'Whether the database includes scans of non-injured athletes in the same game as the injured athlete's scans.' then could it be the contender ?
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Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
The question seems to be irrelevant ! CR is not about playing with the meaning of words.
Re: A new handheld device purports to determine the severity of concussion [#permalink]
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