Okay, so I’m not a mathematician. I effectively avoided calculus in school, although I did like certain aspects of the required geometry and algebra classes. Statistics was flat-out yucky. The best parts were how things just add up, no pun intended. I like for things to make sense. I suppose we all do, but some of us are more comfortable with the unknown than others.
The basic math that I enjoyed was math that was logical. Two plus two is four. The method to figure out the size of a circle always uses the same tried and true formula. In my world, logical equals comfortable. Logic equals satisfaction. If we can wrap our head around it, it is much more useful to us.
Very often in the area of clinical research we are working with unknowns. However, if we are allowed to see behind the scenes, we see that there is a logic that provides a foundation to the research process. Folks that actually pursued advanced math – physicians, scientists and statisticians, carefully plan the research program to mathematically “prove” an outcome. To my thinking, there is both comfort and satisfaction in this – especially for those of us who may be squeamish about not having all the details up front.
The idea of being “blinded” to a particular therapy is not everyone’s cup of tea, and throw in the prospect of “placebo-controlled” and all bets are OFF! To be a part of this process, however, whether as a study participant or as a clinician, means to take part in a fundamental aspect of pharmaceutical science. Blinding and the use of placebo-control minimizes the potential biases that can occur in study management, ideally providing more complete and accurate results.
Now, which would you prefer, knowing everything up front and risking a biased outcome? Or, taking a chance on an unknown and finding out something new, unexpected, and potentially beneficial? The prospects are daunting. That’s why I’m glad that in the case of designing clinical research, the math gurus are in charge…..