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Białystok, Poland

Biostatistics – applications of statistics in clinical medicine, biology, and public health

Language: English Studies in English
Subject area: mathematics and statistics
University website: www.umb.edu.pl/en
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Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical composition, function, development and evolution. Modern biology is a vast field, composed of many branches. Despite the broad scope and the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation of new species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis. See glossary of biology.
Biostatistics is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology. It encompasses the design of biological experiments, especially in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture and fishery; the collection, summarization, and analysis of data from those experiments; and the interpretation of, and inference from, the results. A major branch is medical biostatistics, which is exclusively concerned with medicine and health.
Clinical Medicine
Clinical Medicine is a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Royal College of Physicians. It was established in 1966 as the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. It carried both names between 1998 and 2000, and since 2001 it has appeared as Clinical Medicine. The editor-in-chief is Humphrey Hodgson (emeritus professor of UCL Medical School).
Health is the ability of a biological system to acquire, convert, allocate, distribute, and utilize energy with maximum efficiency. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined human health in a broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive health strategies and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete", which makes it practically impossible to achieve. Other definitions have been proposed, among which a recent definition that correlates health and personal satisfaction.
Medicine is the science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science, psychology, marketing, and advertising. In public relations and communication science, it is one of the more ambiguous concepts in the field. Although it has definitions in the theory of the field that have been formulated from the early 20th century onwards, it has suffered in more recent years from being blurred, as a result of conflation of the idea of a public with the notions of audience, market segment, community, constituency, and stakeholder.
Public Health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals." Analyzing the health of a population and the threats is the basis for public health. The "public" in question can be as small as a handful of people, an entire village or it can be as large as several continents, in the case of a pandemic. "Health" takes into account physical, mental and social well-being. It is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, according to the World Health Organization. Public health is interdisciplinary. For example, epidemiology, biostatistics and health services are all relevant. Environmental health, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy, mental health and occupational safety, gender issues in health, sexual and reproductive health are other important subfields.
Statistics is a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, presentation, and organization of data. In applying statistics to, for example, a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model process to be studied. Populations can be diverse topics such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. See glossary of probability and statistics.
No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.
Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., 1986, Sinauer Associates, p. 15
I wish that people would be persuaded that psychological experiments, especially those on the complex functions, are not improved (by large studies); the statistical method gives only mediocre results; some recent examples demonstrate that. The American authors, who love to do things big, often publish experiments that have been conducted on hundreds and thousands of people; they instinctively obey the prejudice that the persuasiveness of a work is proportional to the number of observations. This is only an illusion.
Alfred Binet (1903). L’Etude experimentale de l’intelligence. Paris: Schleicher Freres and Cie. p. 299; As cited in: Carson (1999, 360)
'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseases
Are grown so catching.
William Shakespeare, Henry VIII (c. 1613), Act I, scene 3, line 36.
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