August 1986

Using and Understanding Medical Statistics

Author Affiliations

Box 1269 Los Lunas, NM 87031


by D. E. Matthews and V. T. Farewell, 200 pp, Basel, Switzerland, S Karger AG, 1985.

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(8):754. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140220036026

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Medical statistics comprises research structure, description, data analysis, and interpretation of investigations in human biology. The authors of this small book limit themselves to a few selected topics in medical statistics; they emphasize research in chronic disease.

The authors, both mathematicians, do not overwhelm the reader with advanced mathematics; neither calculus nor matrix algebra necessary to understand the material presented. Most of the tables occupy one page or less, although (surprisingly) nine pages are devoted to tables for the Fisher exact test.

The introductory chapters present "Basic Concepts" and "Tests of Significance"; contingency tables (row by column) are then discussed in three chapters. Two chapters examine methods for analysis of survival statistics. Several chapters cover the gaussian distribution and analyses that depend on features of that distribution. It is noteworthy that the authors review the "normal" distribution without burdening the reader with the mathematical formula for the curve; they indicate

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