Biostatistics

Definition

Biostatistics is the application of statistical methods in studies in biology, and encompasses the design of experiments, the collection of data from them, and the analysis and interpretation of data. The data come from a wide range of sources, including genomic studies, experiments with cells and organisms, and clinical trials.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    An analysis of reports from phase III trials (published between 2011 and 2013) investigating patients with solid tumours found widespread failings in both the conduct and reporting of subgroup analyses. Readers might well be misled by such analyses. Editors should, therefore, implement policies to reduce the risk of publishing misleading results.

    • Douglas G. Altman
  • Comments and Opinion |

    The short-term safety and efficacy of IFN-β in patients with multiple sclerosis are well established, but less is known about this drug when taken over years and decades. Sormani and Bruzzi discuss the difficulties associated with designing studies of the long-term treatment effects of IFN-β. They then present techniques that have been employed to minimize potential sources of bias. The authors conclude that long-term use of IFN-β reduces clinical progression, but important questions relating to mortality warrant further investigation.

    • Maria Pia Sormani
    •  & Paolo Bruzzi
  • Comments and Opinion |

    The randomized controlled trial represents the gold standard in clinical trial design, but large phase III studies are difficult and expensive to conduct in neurological diseases. In this Perspectives article, Koch and colleagues argue that the futility trial, a phase II design first developed in the oncology field, should be used more widely by neurologists. The authors describe how futility trials could be employed in Parkinson disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.

    • Marcus W. Koch
    • , Lawrence Korngut
    • , David G. Patry
    • , Yahya Agha-Khani
    • , Christopher White
    • , Justyna R. Sarna
    • , Michael Yeung
    • , V. Wee Yong
    • , Daniel Y. C. Heng
    • , Gary Cutter
    •  & Luanne Metz
  • News |

    Clinical trials typically address more than one question. But in attempting to protect against misleading results that are due to chance when multiple interrelated tests are run simultaneously, researchers sometimes apply overly strict statistical devices that mask true effects. They should give more consideration to choosing the type of statistical analysis that fits best.

    • Janet Wittes