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Medical statistics
Medical statistics

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Medical statistics


Please note: a Statement of Participation is not issued for this course.

This free OpenLearn course, Medical statistics, is an extract from the Open University course M249 Practical modern statistics [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , a second level course that provides a broad perspective on modern statistics by introducing you to four important topics: medical statistics, time series, multivariate analysis and Bayesian statistics. Each of these is given a practical introduction with an emphasis on real problems and real data. Students are expected to have a good knowledge of statistical ideas and methods at an introductory level. Some basic mathematical skills are required. No knowledge of calculus is required.

Medical statistics consists of material from M249 Book 1 and has four sections in total. You should set aside about four hours to study each of the sections; the whole extract should take about 16 hours to study. The extract is a small part (around 8%) of a large course that is studied over eight months, and so can give only an approximate indication of the level and content of the full course.

Epidemiology is the field of medical science that deals with the health of populations. In this extract you will learn about some of the statistical methods used in epidemiology and more widely in medical statistics. The focus will be on statistical ideas, analysis of data and interpretation of results; this is typical of M249. It is relatively self-contained and should be reasonably easy to understand for someone with a good knowledge of introductory statistics. However, a few techniques and definitions are present in the extract without explanation. 

Mathematical/statistical content at the Open University is usually provided to students in printed books, with PDFs of the same online. This format ensures that mathematical notation is presented accurately and clearly. The PDF of this extract thus shows the content exactly as it would be seen by an Open University student. However, the extract isn't entirely representative of the module materials, because there are no explicit references to use of the M249 software or to video material (although please note that the PDF may contain references to other parts of M249). In this extract, some illustrations have also been removed due to copyright restrictions.

Regrettably, mathematical and statistical content in PDF form is not accessible using a screenreader, and you may need additional help to read these documents.

Section 1 introduces cohort studies in which individuals are classified according to their exposure and followed forward in time to evaluate disease outcomes.

Section 2 looks at models for cohort studies.

Section 3 introduces case-control studies in which individuals are selected according to their disease status and past exposures are then ascertained.

Section 4 covers testing for no association in cohort studies and case-control studies.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course M249 Practical modern statistics.