Statistics re-analysed: From complexity to simplicity and utility


  • Johanna JM Takkenberg University Medical Center Rotterdam, ’s Gravendijkwal 230, 3015 CE Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Ismail El-Hamamsy Department of Cardiac Surgery, Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Canada
  • Magdi H Yacoub Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center, Doha, Qatar


[first paragraph of article]

‘‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler ’’ (Einstein)

There is no shadow of doubt that statistics are an essential part of science and clinical practice, and therefore should be readily available to all concerned, in a comprehensible manner. In recent years, statistics have tended to deviate from this intention, with their perception of being complex and user-unfriendly. This misconception requires an urgent re-evaluation of statistics, with the aim of restoring their original image of simplicity, elegance and application.

In this issue of the Journal, the two excellent articles by Marc de Leval & Ben Bridgewater and Sir Bruce Keogh serve the purposes of clarifying several aspects relating to the philosophy and applications of statistics. We strongly endorse their message, and attempt in this Editorial to present a simplified road map of the applications of statistics including the origins and utility of commonly used methodologies.