“Mysterious, misused, and by no means the major matter in clinically pertinent research, statistics is often required but seldom admired.”
This introductory statement comes from the abstract of one of the references cited in the lead article in this issue. This article is an evaluation of the use of statistics in the 201 scientific articles published in the JOURNAL during the year of 1988. It may be appropriate to begin this page with a statement, which if it could be examined with a statistical approach, would fall into that portion of that science that began with an evaluation of the likelihood that a member of the Prussian artillery would lose his life as the result of a mule kick in any given year. If the editor be excluded, it must be a truly rare event when any person reads a year of the JOURNAL from cover to cover as Cruess has done.