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Biostatistics

Why and how do diseases actually arise? What methods can we use to discover factors that affect patient survival after a stroke? Is pain measurable? Surveying and modelling the origin and treatment of diseases are common research areas for clinical and biomedical scientists. Biostatistics, the discipline involving application of statistical methods in medicine and biology, is a powerful tool in answering scientific questions.

Our research areas

Our research focuses on statistical and epidemiological methods, and is directly prompted by and based on medical and health science research problems. For example:

  • How are quality of life, depression, pain and tiredness measured? These examples of health outcomes or conditions cannot be measured in a traditional sense like height, weight or blood pressure. For this type of variable (known as categorical or ordinal), special statistical methods are required.
  • How do diseases or hazardous substances spread? Spatio-temporal methods are used to investigate their distribution in space and time.
  • How are smoking and lung cancer, or obesity and cardiovascular disease, connected? Experimentation is not a feasible study method; instead, researchers attempt to observe associations. Knowing whether an observed connection is causal, or can be explained by factors other than those studied by the researchers, may be difficult. Modern approaches are known as causal inference.

Our research group hopes to help achieve better conditions and opportunities for high-quality applied research. Further examples of our focus areas in medicine and health science:

  • Causes and treatment of long-term or chronic pain.
  • Burnout: background and treatment.
  • Risk factors with joint effects in cardiovascular disease.
  • Factors that help cancer survivors cope well with everyday life.
  • Using quality registers in healthcare, identifying factors that promote patient recovery and matching individuals with treatments that are expected to be most efficacious and have the least side effects.
     

Close connection between research and education

There is close cooperation between the Institute’s research and our education and training, in which many of our researchers too are involved. They supervise doctoral students and teach on our regular programmes, freestanding courses and vocational care programmes within Sahlgrenska Academy.

Read more about our education