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Medical Uses of Statistics

George W. Brown, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(9):980. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460090057023.
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For regular readers of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), many chapters in this book will look familiar. Thirteen of the 20 chapters were originally published (in more or less the same form) in the NEJM. Two chapters are revisions of previously published book chapters, while five chapters were written for this book.

The main theme seems to be as follows: This is the way clinical research has been reported in the NEJM. Thirteen of the chapters survey research published in the NEJM; these surveys focus on clinical research structures rather than on descriptive statistics or data analysis and interpretation. As promised in the preface, most chapters refer the reader to textbooks for explanation of calculations.

With 24 contributors, there is a great unevenness in style and clarity. The preface assures the reader that "the authors have striven to write... unencumbered by biostatistical jargon." Even so, some passages are


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