The biostatistical minimum

Luca Bertolaccini, Alessandro Pardolesi, Piergiorgio Solli


Every day in our clinical practice, probability and statistics are used for a broad variety of actions, including the explanation of levels of risk to patients, the access to clinical guidelines, the understanding of research publications, and the writing of investigation papers for analysing numerical data and treatments options. Therefore, an unintentional statistical misconduct may originate from many sources. It is often difficult to detect, and little is known regarding the prevalence or underlying causes of research misconduct among biomedical researchers. The improvements in teaching statistics to thoracic surgeons should improve the thoughtful of statistical concepts and should reduce the incidence of fallacies. The Biostatistical basis should comprise the aspect of the Biostatistics that surgeons should be aware of correctly interpreting in their research findings: the understanding of p-values, confidence intervals, Student’s t-tests, Z test, chi-square goodness of fit, ANOVA tables, and basic statistical models (linear or logistic regression). The understanding of Biostatistics is essential to all thoracic surgeons, and it is not unaware since most received some statistics lessons in their training. The Statistic Corner of the Journal of Thoracic Diseases kept the emphasis on Biostatistical methods to applies and when. Thus, various authors wrote about the analyses of several types of outcomes variables, the analyses of study design, the measures of association and impact, and the general strategies for the statistical analyses. Deceptively, these Statistic Corner articles have only scratched the surface. Nonetheless, we hope that had provided a stimulus to enhance the skills to interpret Biostatistics.