A.Y. 2023/2024
Overall hours
Learning objectives
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.
Single course

This course cannot be attended as a single course. Please check our list of single courses to find the ones available for enrolment.

Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Course syllabus
The course will address the following topics:
TOPIC 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

TOPIC 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

TOPIC 3 (Evaluation of efficacy and safety of therapy)
- Methodology of clinical research: control, randomization and blinding
- Deciding from study results: the logic of statistical inference
- How to express the results of a clinical study regarding biologic markers. Comparing means: efficacy expressed by a biologic marker.
- How to express the results of a clinical study regarding a percentage of successes. Comparing proportions: efficacy expressed by the percentage of therapeutic successes.
- How to express the results of a clinical study regarding survival times.
- 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.
Teaching methods
Synchronous learning: Lectures by the teacher will mainly be used through the course.
Asynchronous learning: AMBOSS platform (Epidemiology, Statistical analysis of data); audio-video lectures available online;
Case-studies reports.
Teaching Resources
· Interpretation and Uses of Medical Statistics" by Daly and Bourke (5th edition). Available online in Unimi library.
· 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)

The Biostatistics and Epidemiology modules in AMBOSS will be used for asynchronous learning.
Additional material, in particular to online content, will be made available during the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is composed of a written and an oral test.
The written test will be based on the Moodle platform basically with multiple items questions and short answers numerical questions. Online statistical calculators will be needed to answer some of the numerical questions. 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 in general the topics described in the expected learning outcomes. 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.
Attendance is required to be allowed to take the exam. Unexcused absence is tolerated up to 34% of the course activities. University policy regarding excused illness is followed.
Registration to the exam through SIFA is mandatory.
MED/01 - MEDICAL STATISTICS - University credits: 5
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
: 16 hours
Professor: Ambrogi Federico
On appointment (email)
Laboratorio di Statistica Medica, Biometria ed Epidemiologia "G.A. Maccacaro", Via Celoria 22, Milano