Medicine:Medical statistics

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Short description: Applications of statistics to medicine and the health sciences

Medical statistics deals with applications of statistics to medicine and the health sciences, including epidemiology, public health, forensic medicine, and clinical research. Medical statistics has been a recognized branch of statistics in the United Kingdom for more than 40 years but the term has not come into general use in North America, where the wider term 'biostatistics' is more commonly used.[1] However, "biostatistics" more commonly connotes all applications of statistics to biology.[1] Medical statistics is a subdiscipline of statistics. "It is the science of summarizing, collecting, presenting and interpreting data in medical practice, and using them to estimate the magnitude of associations and test hypotheses. It has a central role in medical investigations. It not only provides a way of organizing information on a wider and more formal basis than relying on the exchange of anecdotes and personal experience, but also takes into account the intrinsic variation inherent in most biological processes."[2]

Pharmaceutical statistics

Pharmaceutical statistics is the application of statistics to matters concerning the pharmaceutical industry. This can be from issues of design of experiments, to analysis of drug trials, to issues of commercialization of a medicine.[citation needed]

There are many professional bodies concerned with this field including:

  • European Federation of Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry (EFSPI)
  • Statisticians In The Pharmaceutical Industry (PSI)

There are also journals including:

  • Statistics in Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Statistics

Clinical biostatistics

Clinical biostatistics is concerned with research into the principles and methodology used in the design and analysis of clinical research and to apply statistical theory to clinical medicine.[3]

There is a society for Clinical Biostatistics with annual conferences since its founding in 1978.[3]

Clinical Biostatistics is taught in postgraduate biostatistical and applied statistical degrees, for example as part of the BCA Master of Biostatistics program in Australia.

Basic concepts

For describing situations
For assessing the effectiveness of an intervention

Related statistical theory

  • Survival analysis
  • Proportional hazards models
  • Active control trials: clinical trials in which a kind of new treatment is compared with some other active agent rather than a placebo.
  • ADLS(Activities of daily living scale): a scale designed to measure physical ability/disability that is used in investigations of a variety of chronic disabling conditions, such as arthritis. This scale is based on scoring responses to questions about self-care, grooming, etc.[4]
  • Actuarial statistics: the statistics used by actuaries to calculate liabilities, evaluate risks and plan the financial course of insurance, pensions, etc.[5]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dodge, Y. (2003) The Oxford Dictionary of Statistical Terms, OUP. ISBN 0-19-850994-4
  2. Kirkwood, Betty R. (2003). essential medical statistics. Blackwell Science, Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts 02148–5020, USA: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-86542-871-3. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "iscb – International Society For Clinical Biostatistics". 
  4. S, KATZ; FORD A B; MOSKOWITZ R W; JACKSON B A; JAFFE M W (1963). "Studies of Illness in the Aged". Journal of the American Medical Association 185 (12): 914–9. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060120024016. PMID 14044222. 
  5. Benjamin, Bernard (1993). The analysis of mortality and other actuarial statistics. England, Institute of Actuaries: Oxford. ISBN 0521077494. 

Further reading

External links