[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 15, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(20):1531-1532. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610460049016

While there have always been those who have cast discredit on the scientific value of statistics, it remains a fact that some medical knowledge must be derived from statistical investigation. Statistics may, of course, be juggled, and it is also fair to assume that statistics are often prepared by persons not skilled in the fundamental principles underlying their preparation. It is probably true that the bulk of medical statistics of the past has been prepared by medical men not trained as expert statisticians.

Recently Mr. Raymond Pearl,3 professor of biometry and vital statistics in the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, has analyzed, from the point of view of a trained statistician, certain figures in a paper published by Head4 concerning the efficiency of various methods of treatment in pneumonia. In this paper Dr. Head himself suggested that the lowered mortality shown in favor of closed ward treatment