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Statistical inference is overemphasized in cluster investigations: the case of the cluster of breast cancers at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation studios in Brisbane, Australia

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The aim of statistical analyses in cluster investigations is to estimate the probability that the aggregation of cases could be due to chance. As a result of several statistical problems – including the post-hoc nature of the analysis and the subjective nature of implied multiple comparisons – this cannot be carried out with any certainty. In cluster investigations, expert opinion should carry much more weight than P-values, which are exceedingly difficult to interpret.

Keywords: case series; clusters; statistical inference

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2008

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