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Biostatistics, according to Wikipedia, is the development and application of statistical methods to a wide range of topics in biology. It encompasses the design of biological experiments, the collection and analysis of data from those experiments and the interpretation of the results (Wikimedia Foundation, 2021).

One population health problem that is prevalent is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea if untreated can cause cardiac arrythmias. Biostatistics can be used to look at just how prevalent sleep apnea is and the prevalence of cardiac issues due to this as well. The Department of Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada published an article in the American College of CHEST Physicians journal discussing this investigation on sleep disturbances and their relation to cardiac arrhythmias. The biological experiment was done by nocturnal polysomnography. While patients were sleeping, they were hooked up to an electrocardiogram and pulse oximeter. The administers of the experiment also measured noise levels of those who snore and gauged them as heavy to light snorers. The experiment was done with 458 volunteers.

The results of this biological experiment were as follows: There was a 58% prevalence of cardiac arrythmias in those with sleep apnea versus the 42% in non-apneic controls. Patients with arrhythmias had more severe apnea and nocturnal hypoxemia, but not snoring, than patients without arrhythmias. To examine separately the relationship between the prevalence of arrhythmias and snoring, nocturnal oxygenation, and apnea, they selected subgroups of patients “at the opposite ends of the spectrum” with respect to the severity of snoring, hypoxemia, and apnea. They found that 38% of light snorers had arrhythmias verses 39% of heavy snorers, 82% of patients with mean nocturnal oxygen saturation <90% had arrhythmias verses 40% of patients with mean nocturnal oxygen saturation >90%. The conclusion of the experiment was that patients with sleep apnea as a group have higher prevalence of cardiac arrhythmias than non-apneic patients and that snoring alone, without concomitant sleep apnea, is not associated with increased frequency of cardiac arrhythmias (Hoffstein & Mateika, 2016).

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