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What not to do in medical statistics

DOI: 10.1590/S1519-38292007000300012

Keywords: statistics, biostatistics.

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there have been major efforts to improve the application of statistical methods in medical research, although some errors and misconceptions persist. in this paper i will review some of the topics which most often cause problems: a) comparison of two methods of clinical measurement; b) comparison of baseline values between arms of a randomized trial; c) absence of evidence as opposed to evidence of absence; and d) regression to the mean. i will also revisit a statistical error in one of my own publications. i review some causes of the continuing misuse of statistics, and make some suggestions for modifying the education of statistical and non-statistical medical researchers in order to alleviate this.


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