ANITA K. BAHN, SC.D.
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To the editor: In the article, "Digital Capillary Blood Flow in Clubbing" (Ann Intern Med 75:933-935, 1971), Table 1 has the following footnote: "P = probability that difference between the means is caused by chance."
This is a common misconception that I believe should be corrected for your readers. Since the misstatement is very similar to one of the exercises in my textbook, "Basic Medical Statistics," I thought it might be instructive to quote this problem and the answer to it.
P = .01 means that the probability is one in a hundred that the observed difference is due
BAHN AK. P and the Null Hypothesis. Ann Intern Med. ;76:674. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-76-4-674_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1972;76(4):674.
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