Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Doug AltmanOn the 3rd June 2018, when Professor Doug Altman passed away, the statistics community lost one of its greatest statisticians. Doug Altman was a Professor of Statistics in Medicine at the University of Oxford. He was an internationally acclaimed statistician, who was best known for improving the quality of medical research. His contribution to the discipline of statistics are profound and have been, and continue to be, of far reaching consequence.

Doug led the Medical Statistics Group of Cancer Research UK from 1988. His immersion in clinical research led to Doug’s popular book “Practical Statistics for Medical Research” which was published in 1991. The group moved from London to Oxford in 1995, where he founded the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM). In 2006 he founded the Equator Network, which seeks to improve the quality of scientific publications by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of health research.

In 2015, Doug was awarded the BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award and was quoted as saying in an article announcing the award that “Perpetually seeing bad articles in medical journals just got to me. I felt aggrieved by it. It was a waste of money, of course, and a breach of ethics, but that only occurred to me later. At the time, it just seemed wrong.”  Doug sought to address these concerns, focussing his career on continuing to develop new methodologies whilst advocating for practical guidelines and transparency. 

CSM continues under the Directorship of Professor Sallie Lamb. Only a few weeks before his death, Doug took both great pride and enjoyment in participating in the annual CSM away day, and celebrating the achievements of junior, mid-career and senior medical statisticians at the University of Oxford.

Similar stories

New evidence for how our brains handle surprise

A new study from the Bruno Group is challenging our perceptions of how the different regions of the cerebral cortex function. A group of ‘quiet’ cells in the somatosensory cortex that rarely respond to touch have been found to react mainly to surprising circumstances. The results suggest their function is not necessarily driven by touch, but may indicate an important and previously unidentified role across all the major cortices.

Language learning difficulties in children linked to brain differences

A new study using MRI has revealed structural brain changes in children with developmental language disorder (DLD), a common but under-recognised difficulty in language learning. Children with DLD aged 10-15 showed reduced levels of myelin in areas of the brain associated with speaking and listening to others, and areas involved in learning new skills. This finding is a significant advance in our understanding of DLD and these brain differences may explain the poorer language outcomes in this group.

The Gene Therapists Headline at Glastonbury 2022

Rosie Munday writes about her experience taking science to the masses at the Glastonbury Festival.

New research reveals relationship between particular brain circuits and different aspects of mental wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Oxford have uncovered previously unknown details about how changes in the brain contribute to changes in wellbeing.

Night-time blood pressure assessment is found to be important in diagnosing hypertension

Around 15% of people aged 40-75 may have a form of undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) that occurs only at night-time. Because they do not know about this, and therefore are not being treated for it, they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, heart failure, and even death, suggests new research from the University of Oxford published in the British Journal of General Practice.