Usefulness of statistics for establishing evidence-based reproductive medicine

Yasunori Sato, Masahiko Gosho, Kiyotaka Toshimori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


During the last decade, evidence-based medicine has been described as a paradigm shift in clinical practice, and as "the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients". Appropriate statistical methods for analyzing data are critical for the correct interpretation of the results in proof of the evidence. However, in the medical literature, these statistical methods are often incorrectly interpreted or misinterpreted, leading to serious methodological errors and misinterpretations. This review highlights several important aspects related to the design and statistical analysis for evidence-based reproductive medicine. First, we clarify the distinction between ratios, proportions, and rates, and then provide a definition of pregnancy rate. Second, we focus on a special type of bias called 'confounding bias', which occurs when a factor is associated with both the exposure and the disease but is not part of the causal pathway. Finally, we present concerns regarding misuse of statistical software or application of inappropriate statistical methods, especially in medical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive Medicine and Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Biostatistical methods
  • Confounding factor
  • Evidence-based reproductive medicine
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Pregnancy rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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