The purpose of the Biostatistics course is to develop student's critical ability to evaluate, on the basis of data reported in scientific literature, the diagnostic utility of medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests, the practical efficacy of prevention programs and therapeutic or rehabilitation protocols, and the validity of prognostic indices.
Expected learning outcomes
The acquisition of the abilities related to Biostatistics, during the process of medical training, contributes to the formation of a methodological habitus suitable to integrate, in daily practice, the clinical knowledge coming from personal experience with the evidence provided by biosciences and good clinical research.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
PART 1 (Risk and prognostic factors) - Introductory Lectures. Types of epidemiologic studies and measures of association between risk factors and disease - Seminar. "An Introduction to Epidemiology: Pattern, trends and causes of cancer" - Group works. Cohort and case-control studies: cigarette smoking and lung cancer - Lecture. Why different studies have different results (systematic and random effects)?
PART 2 (Evaluation of the efficiency of a diagnostic procedure) - Lectures. How to measure the accuracy of a diagnostic test procedure - Group works: Evaluation of a screening test: HIV infection - Lecture. Types of data and summary measures - Lecture. Meaning and use of reference limits (ranges) in medicine. ROC curves and multiple diagnostic tests
PART 3 (Evaluation of efficacy and safety of therapy) - Lectures. Methodology of clinical research: control, randomization and blinding - Lectures. Deciding from study results: the logic of statistical inference - Group works: How to express the results of a clinical study regarding biologic markers. - Lectures. Predictions based on multivariable models - Practical activity (computer lab). The use of online calculators for statistical analysis
Prerequisites for admission
To take the Biostatistics exam, students must have already passed all the exams of the first year (Fundamentals of Basic Sciences, Cells Molecules and Genes 1 and 2, Human Body) and the exam of Functions. To be able to fully understand the contents of the course, students must have a good knowledge of Excel. Suggested material: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/introduction-to-excel-starter-…
Lectures by the teacher will mainly be used through the course. Seminars from experts in epidemiology and clinical research will be followed by class discussion conducted by teacher. Practical activities will be based on small student groups with discussion conducted by the teacher or by selected students.
· J. Mark Elwood, "Critical Appraisal of Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials", 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press · Douglas G. Altman, "Practical statistics for medical research". Chapman and Hall · Marcello Pagano, Kimberlee Gauvreau, "Principles of Biostatistics", 2000, Duxbury Press · R. Bonita, R. Beaglehole, T. Kjellström, "Basic epidemiology". 2nd edition. World Health Organization (free)
Assessement methods and criteria
The exam is composed of a written and an oral test. The written test is composed of closed and open answers covering each of the arguments developed during the course. Some questions will involve the use of online statistical calculators; therefore the test will be performed in a computer lab. The grades are on a scale of 30 and a minimum of 18/30 is required to pass the written test. Only students passing the written test will access an oral examination discussing the questions of the written test and published research papers. The evaluation will take into account (1) the ability to organize the concepts developed during the course discursively; (2) the quality of exposure; (3) the competence in the use of specialist vocabulary. The final mark is decided after the oral examination and can confirm, increase or decrease the mark of the written test. The exam is deemed to be passed successfully if the final grade is equal to or higher than 18/30. In the event of a full grade (30/30) honors (lode) may be granted. Registration to the exam through SIFA is mandatory.