History of Biostatistics

Paper Type:  Presentation
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  921 Words
Date:  2022-03-29


Biostatistics involves the use of statistics in an extended range of fields in biology, such as pharmacy, medicine, and fisheries. It entails the formulation, gathering, data analysis, the implementation and conclusion obtained from the biological experiments. The biostatistics dates back to the early centuries, where scientists such as James Lind, Pierre-Charles Al Exander Louis, Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, Fisher, and Brad Ford Hill were involved in various discoveries. Such inventions formed the basis of the Biostatistics field as it is today.

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James Lind

James is considered as the first physician to engage in clinical trials, where he conducted a controlled experiment, which aimed at evaluating citrus fruits and their effects on scurvy. This disease was common, especially for individuals who engaged in long sea trips, which resulted in bad gums and eventually led to death. Before James's experiments, there was no cure or solution for this ailment. He was selected as a surgeon in the HMS Salisbury gunship, which patrolled the English Channel. After eight weeks into the sea, the disease (scurvy) attacked the crew. James decided to test the effect of acids on the condition. He conducted the test by dividing twelve ailing members into six groups and gave them different food supplements: vitriolic elixir, sea water, cider, oranges, vinegar, purgative mixture, which consisted of a lemon and two oranges. The patients with the fruit mixture indicated signs of improvement, and after six days they recovered. Therefore, this suggested the existing relationship between citrus and scurvy and thus, acting as the first successful controlled experiment in the medical history.

Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis

Pierre is considered as the first scientist to utilize numerical methods in medical research. Pierre was a French physician, who interacted with pneumonia-stricken patients. However, his interaction with medical statistics emerged in 1828, where he majored in the study to show the effects of bloodletting in the common inflammatory diseases. Pierre had collected an extensive record from the autopsy and other clinical processes. Therefore, he selected 77 homogenous patients, who he planned to utilize in analyzing bloodletting in pneumonia cases. Pierre engaged in extensive research to establish the onset of the disease per patient, and then explained and timed the first bloodletting, the duration of the illness, and death frequencies. He placed the patients into groups, by the period they bled. For instance, between (1-4 days of the illness), which was termed as early, and the late classification, which included 5-9 days. Such a designation resulted in two groups, with 41 and 36 patients respectively. Additionally, these patients posted the average age of 41 and 38 years old. Therefore, this led to a conclusion that, the number of patients that bled on the first day and died at the age of fifty was almost double of those of the same age, but bled at a later date. This was the first statistical conclusion recorded in the field of medicine.

Francis Galton

Galton was an explorer and suggested that various human characteristics can be quantified. Specifically, he majored in intelligence and believed that knowledge could be measured through a reaction time test. For instance, he suggested that the rate at which an individual identifies or registers a set of sounds indicated his or her intelligence quotient. Therefore, the fast one was, he or she was considered more intelligent. This formed the basis of today's I.Q tests. This idea led to the development of eugenics, which vouched for selective breeding in the population.

Karl Pearson

Pearson was considered as one of the core founders of biometrics, where he devoted the period between 1893 and 1904 to develop statistical approaches to biometry. He advanced methods such as standard deviation, Chi-square test, and correlation coefficients to explain the hereditary concept. Pearson concentrated on giving the mathematical point of view on the inheritance mechanism, which involves small changes, rather than the large jumps suggested by his mentor Galton. He believed that trends exhibited by observable data presented a continuous sequence of reoccurrence. Therefore, biologists ought to utilize empirical data to generate mathematical descriptions of such processes. Hence, this makes Karl Pearson one of the remarkable contributors to the biostatistical field.

Ronald Fisher

Fisher is considered as the father of statistical genetics, especially in the field of population genetics. He established the Fisher's principle, sexy son hypothesis, and the Fisher's runway, which tried to expound on sexual selection. His significant formulas in this field include the derivation of sampling distributions, fiducial inference, maximum likelihood, and also formulated the experiment designs. He introduced variance, which he used to show the correlation relatives, and enhanced the formal analysis of the Mendelian inheritance. He further suggested the conceptual genetics theory, which indicated a continuous variation, the phenotypic characteristics evaluated by biostatisticians and could be caused by the interaction of combined actions of several discrete genes. Thus, this is considered as the initial step in developing population and quantitative genetics.

Bradford Hill

Bradford is considered as the founder of medical research and also authored a book on "the principles of medical statistics." His main input is deemed to be the study conducted on the evaluation of the effectiveness of streptomycin in treating tuberculosis. He also pioneered the application of randomization when conducting agricultural experiments. His second primary research involves a series of evaluations of effects of smoking on lung cancer. This research factored out the impacts of smoking on approximately 40,701 medical practitioners in Britain. He utilized statistical principles to analyze such data, which enabled him to come up with conclusions. Thus, this established the use of research and statistics in the medical field.

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History of Biostatistics. (2022, Mar 29). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/history-of-biostatistics

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