WHy are statisticians asked to complete hypothesis testing?Please provide an example in medicine.

Expert Answers
Matthew Fonda eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hypothesis testing can be used in medicine to determine if a treatment or drug is effective.

For example, a drug company is developing a new medication to lower blood pressure. They have carried out a clinical study in which one group recieves a placebo, and the other group receives the new medication. Throughout the study, blood pressure data is collected within each group. A statistician can then analyze the data using hypothesis testing to determine if the treatment was effective or not.

Suppose the researcher wants to know if on average the blood pressue of the group being treated is lower than the control group. Let `\mu_{drug}` be the average blood pressue of the treatment group, and `\mu_{control}` be the average blood pressure of the control group. Our hypotheses are so follows:

Null Hypothesis: `\mu_{drug} = \mu_{control}`

Alternative Hypothesis: `\mu_{drug} < \mu_{control}`

We would then calculate the p-value, and if it was below a certain threshold, we would reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis.