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Article
February 25, 1956

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FACTS: GUEST EDITORIAL

JAMA. 1956;160(8):672-673. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960430062012

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Abstract

When the sciences of physics and chemistry advanced beyond the descriptive stage and became quantitative in their approach to natural phenomena, the rate of advance of knowledge increased tremendously. Medicine, long purely descriptive in its approach, is obviously on the threshold of its quantitative era, and the great advances in recent years are in large measure due to this. The quantitative methods available to chemists and physicists are far more accurate than most methods available to doctors, but advances in the mathematical techniques called statistics have provided a logical means of drawing accurate conclusions from data supplied by less accurate methods and have led to great improvements in the design of clinical experiments. Certainly the time is near at hand when every doctor will be expected to employ the common statistical safeguards when presenting before his peers any paper containing quantitative data, and the lack of such treatment of his

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