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Statistical and Clinical Interpretation of Research Results

Garry T. Allison School of Surgery and Pathology, Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies, Level 2 MRF Bldg, Rear 50 Murray St, Perth, Western Australia 6014, Australia.

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There is a well-known phenomenon of publication bias toward manuscripts that report statistically significant differences. The clinical implications of these statistically significant differences are not always clear because the magnitude of the changes may be clinically meaningless. This article relates the critical P value threshold to the magnitude of the actual observed change and provides a rationale for reporting confidence intervals in clinical studies. Strategies for improving statistical power and reducing the magnitude of the confidence interval range for clinical trials are also described. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(2): 165–170, 2007)