Medical Biostatistics, Fourth Edition
Abhaya Indrayan and Rajeev Kumar Malhotra
UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION OF THE BOOK
There are many topics in this text which are not covered at all or not adequately covered by the other existing books. These can be listed as follows:
1. The book tries to establish medical biostatistics as a subject of its own, distinct from the usual biostatistics, and tries to integrate the subject with medical sciences opposed to mathematical sciences.
2. This text recognizes that medical uncertainties are abundant and the science of biostatistics can adequately deal with most of the data-based uncertainties.
3. We lay great emphasis on epistemic uncertainties that arise from the unknown factors. Many of us tend to ignore this component although that can dominate in certain medical setups.
4. Normal distribution is not normal, particularly for sick subjects and the name is a misnomer – should be called Gaussian.
5. Many new concepts have been introduced in this book such as (a) positive health, (b) death spectrum, whereby individuals may exercise their choice regarding increasing the chances of death in old age by the cause they desire, (c) a comprehensive smoking index, (d) indicators of mental health, (e) predictivity-based ROC curve, (f) nomogram for sample size in cluster sampling, (g) clustering of values based on consensus among various clustering methods for, say, choropleth mapping of the health indicators, and (h) alternative simple method for assessing agreement. All these are our original contributions.
6. An extensive debate on statistical versus medical significance, conceding essential role of P-values for ruling out sampling fluctuations but maintaining the primacy of biological relevance for meaningful conclusions. We also emphasize that statistical significance is not just about presence or absence of an effect but also about whether it has reached to a medically important threshold.
7. A full chapter on quality of data, quality of inference, and quality control of errors. This deals with issues that are rarely, if at all, discussed in a biostatistics book despite their huge relevance to medical investigations.
8. A full chapter on statistical fallacies with a large number of practical examples. This happens to be the most appreciated chapter in the reviews. Medical professionals may find it very illuminating.
9. This may be perhaps the most comprehensive text on medical biostatistics with a discussion and explanation of a large number of concepts and methods at one place.
10. Index at the end of any book makes it easier to locate the topic of interest but here we provide a very comprehensive list, which some readers consider a great asset.