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June 1992

Practical Statistics for Medical Research

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1404 Florida NE Albuquerque, NM 87110

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(6):682. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160180040013

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In 1980, the British Medical Journal (volume 281) published a series of readable and informative articles by Douglas G. Altman entitled "Statistics and Ethics in Medical Research." Now comes a monograph by the same author, and it is a winner. Health care professionals recognize their obligation to have some familiarity with biometry, biostatistics, clinical epidemiology, or whatever the subject might be called. We all need to understand at least some of the fundamental ideas and methods if we expect to follow the current biomedical literature. Researchers must know considerably more than just the fundamentals.

Textbooks of biostatistics are commonly frustrating to the clinician or biomedical researcher who has not had formal training in statistics. The books tend to use strange, often idiosyncratic, notation. The algebra may be arcane or cryptic. The technical discourse is often too esoteric for even the most diligent reader of medical literature.

Altman's excellent book avoids

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