Biological interpretation of relative risk.
There is widespread interest in assessing the clinical importance of a study result.
This goal is impeded, however, by a lack of clarity about the biological interpretability of epidemiological effect measures, such as the relative risk.
A relative risk is often interpreted merely as a measure of some vague statistical association, without a view toward a biological effect as an object of measurement.
Not infrequently, if it is not statistically significant, the relative risk estimate is ignored completely.
A key to biological interpretation is appreciating the theoretical framework stipulating that outcome rates derived from 2 comparison groups actually represent measures of different effects in the same population.
For instance, by using a placebo group to estimate the number of background cases that occurred in the treatment group, an estimate of the number of excess cases that occurred as a result of treatment can be made.
This kind of biological entity can be derived from a relative risk, and can be more easily evaluated as to its clinical importance than a statistical association or a statement about statistical significance.
Interpretation then becomes a more directed task, with a focus on the validity of certain ancillary hypotheses upon which biological interpretability rests.
Mots-clés Pascal : Article synthèse, Interprétation, Risque, Analyse risque, Effet biologique, Epidémiologie, Homme, Essai clinique phase III
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Review, Interpretation, Risk, Risk analysis, Biological effect, Epidemiology, Human, Phase III trial
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 99-0429555
Code Inist : 002B30A01A2. Création : 22/03/2000.