The field of statistics can feel bewildering to non-experts, yet all medical writers need to have an awareness of the subject in order to do their job properly. For the uninitiated, help is at hand with a special edition of Medical Writing (the official journal of the European Medical Writers Association) dedicated to the topic.
It begins with the “History of biostatistics” by J. Rosser Matthews, which looks at the key milestones and how they have shaped clinical trial design.
This is followed by “Never P alone: The value of estimates and confidence intervals”, in which Tom Lang outlines the importance of providing confidence intervals and not just a P value. He also co-authors an article with Douglas G. Altman describing the current SAMPL (Statistical Analyses and Methods in the Published Literature) guidelines. Adam Jacobs provides advice on how to write meta analyses in “A medical writer’s guide to meta-analysis”, while Diogo Bruno explains study design in “Study design made easy”. How to report odds ratios, hazard ratios and β-coefficients is covered in “How to interpret and report the results from multivariable analyses” by Stephen Gilliver and Neus Valveny. Finally, two articles cover the special relationship that is needed between biostatistician and medical writer to ensure smooth and high-quality document preparation; “Best friends forever: A pattern of collaboration between medical writers and biostatisticians within the Russian CRO” by Ivan Dobromyslov and Eugenia Radkova and “Biostatistics and medical writing: Synergy in preparing clinical trials documents” by Raquel Billiones and Scott Miller.
This focused edition of Medical Writing should prove invaluable to anyone looking to improve their biostatistics knowledge.