Combined Bachelor's + Master's degree in Medicine and Surgery

Physics-Medical statistics - STATISTICA MEDICA

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giuseppe Verlato
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Lezioni 1° semestre 2°- 6° anno dal Oct 2, 2017 al Dec 21, 2017.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course is aimed at presenting basic principles of medical statistics, necessary to study groups of individuals by taking into account inter-individual variability. In particular, the medical student will learn to:
1. Create and interpret a frequency table, starting from individual data
2. Represent data pertaining to a biological phenomenon with adequate graphics
3. Compute percentiles (or other quantiles) of a biological variable
4. Use a simple software, such as a spreadsheet, to compute simple statistics
5. Estimate sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of a diagnostic procedure
6. Compute confidence intervals for means and proportions
7. Perform a statistical test to evaluate significance of differences between two means or two proportions.
8. Estimate the relation between two quantitative variables by a linear regression model


The following topics will be addressed:
1. Measurements performed in biomedicine: precision, accuracy, repeatability and validity.
2. Basic statistical methods to describe, interpret and present quantitative information collected on groups of individuals or other statistical units.
3. Probability: definitions, basic rules to compute probabilities and expected events.
4. Evaluation of a screening procedure when a gold standard is available: sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, positive and negative likelihood ratio. Intra-rater and inter-rater agreement.
5. Main probabilistic models, useful to approximate the distribution of a biological variables within a population (binomial and gaussian distributions).
6. Basic design in observational and experimental research: random sampling and randomization.
7. Main inferential methods: confidence intervals to estimate parameters, and hypothesis testing to base decisions on experimental/observational evidence.
8. Basic concepts of multivariable statistical analysis: multiple linear regression to study quantitative outcomes, logistic model to study dichotomous outcomes, and Cox model to study survival.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Norman G, Streiner D Biostatistica: quello che avreste voluto sapere… (Edizione 2) Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano 2015 test con molti approfondimenti
Verlato G, Zanolin ME Esercizi di Statistica Medica, Informatica ed Epidemiologia Libreria Cortina Editrice, Verona 2000 Libro di esercizi
Swinscow TDV, Campbell MJ Le basi della Statistica per scienze bio-mediche Edizioni Minerva Medica S.p.A., Torino 2004 test molto sintetico
Bland M Statistica Medica APOGEO, Milano 2009 9788850327386
Glantz SA Statistica per Discipline Biomediche (Edizione 6) McGraw-Hill 2007 9788838639258

Assessment methods and criteria

A written exam will be performed in the computer room. In the first part, students will have to answer about 30 multiple choice questions with 5-8 possible answers. In the second part students will have to solve problems of inferential statistics, which will require to compute confidence intervals and/or to perform simple statistical tests. For this purpose, students will be enabled to use a computer equipped with a spreadsheet.


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