: Dicing with Death: Chance, Risk and Health, by Stephen Senn. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 251 pp. $28.00.: Dicing with Death: Chance, Risk and Health, by Stephen Senn. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 251 pp. \$28.00.
Whether one loves, hates, or is indifferent to statistics, it is
impossible to avoid the fact that scientific medicine is founded on
statistical thinking. Statistics does much more than help us determine
if a drug or treatment procedure is efficacious. It provides a rational
framework for studying a stunningly broad array of medical questions.
Will an annual mammogram measurably decrease a 40-year-old woman's
risk of early death? What is the best public health response to
minimize morbidity and mortality from an intentional release of
anthracis? How can we rationally allocate limited
medical and financial resources to deal with public health risks into
the future? All of these questions, and most associated with public
health and even curative health care, ultimately require quantitative
evaluation. Dig down to the epistemological heart of medicine, and
there you will find statistics and mathematics smiling, some might say
glaring, back at you.