Traditional Bayes: Diagnostic Testing, Genetic Data Analyses, Bayes and Drug Trials

  • Ton J. Cleophas
  • Aeilko H. Zwinderman


In clinical research where the base rate for a disease is very low and the diagnostic test is far from perfect, there will be a pretty high probability of a positive result that is false positive. Traditional Bayesian statistics uses the ratios of posterior and prior test odds, where the odds is again the ratio of patients being true positive (having some disease) and that of being true negative (having none disease). The methodology has been traditionally used for three main purposes:
  1. 1.

    diagnostic testing,

  2. 2.

    genetic data analyses,

  3. 3.

    finding the probability in drug trials that a new drug will really work.

The current chapter will review the three purposes. We will give examples, including examples of populations with
  • rare diseases,

  • more common,

  • common,

  • very common like a genetic disease with 50% gene carrier ship,

  • very common with 75% prevalence.

Also examples will be given of Bayesian statistics applied for genetic data analysis, and for analyzing drug trials with type I and type II errors assessed in the form of Bayesian prior probability estimates.

Suggested Reading1,2

  1. Statistics applied to clinical studies 5th edition, 2012Google Scholar
  2. Machine learning in medicine a complete overview, 2015Google Scholar
  3. SPSS for starters and 2nd levelers 2nd edition, 2015Google Scholar
  4. Clinical data analysis on a pocket calculator 2nd edition, 2016Google Scholar
  5. Understanding clinical data analysis from published research, 2016Google Scholar
  6. Modern Meta-analysis, 2017Google Scholar
  7. Regression Analysis in Clinical Research, 2018Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ton J. Cleophas
    • 1
  • Aeilko H. Zwinderman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Medicine Albert Schweitzer HospitalAlbert Schweitzer HospitalSliedrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department Biostatistics and EpidemiologyAcademic Medical Center Department Biostatistics and EpidemiologyAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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