What is Biostatistics?

The studies of biology and statistics combine to form biostatistics, which uses statistical methods  to provide analysis for biological study. This dual methodology can be utilized in a wide variety of practical applications. It provides a framework for understanding the outcomes of scientific experimentation in logical, concrete terms. Keep reading to learn about the origins of this form of study and the ways in which it is used in modern research.

Uses in Medical Research

Methods from this form of study are used significantly in medical research as a way of obtaining, analyzing and interpreting data to reach conclusions that guide the medical community. In fact, the role of biostatistics is quite crucial in the understanding of many important health issues. The data provided through the lens of such study is used to provide insights that determine if a treatment is effective. It also helps isolate factors that are contributing to disease. These examples are just a few relevant ways that statistic methods can guide biological study in medicine.

Uses in Epidemiology

Epidemiology is an umbrella term covering the wide range of public health matters. The cause, progression and spread of disease are analyzed using biology and statistics. This information gives researchers insight into such considerations as:

  • specific symptoms
  • mortality rates
  • when outbreaks may occur

The development of vaccines and other medical interventions are guided through such knowledge. No longer is medical research merely observation-based. Much more can be accomplished through the use of detailed statistical analysis and evidence.

Cancer Research

While statistical methods are a benefit to medical research in general, the incorporation of statistics in the realm of cancer research is particularly useful. Treatments such as chemotherapy are hard on the body and can cause such drastic side effects. Medical professionals want to be able to discontinue the use of particular therapies as soon as possible if they are not having the desired effect on patients. The use of statistical evidence can show medical personnel more clearly and quickly which methods are making a difference and which aren’t. This helps find a new course of action can be more readily employed. As with other medical research, biostatistical methods are also a guiding force in the clinical trials and cause identification of cancer.

As you can see, the combination of statistics with biological science has had a tremendous impact on the fields of medicine and health. Through this combined lens, scientists and researchers are able to:

  • isolate the causes and development of numerous health issues
  • determine the kinds of treatments that are most effective
  • direct future research in the most efficient and useful direction

Many life-changing developments could never have come to fruition without the logical, concrete information provided through this unique combination of statistics and biology. Biostatistics is invaluable when it comes to the quality of life we lead and in the number of lives that are saved each year.