USMLE Question of the Week

Understanding Statistical Power

In Episode 28 of Med School Question of the Week for USMLE, Alisa Khomutova, MedSchoolCoach expert tutor, answers this medical school question: A group of investigators is evaluating the efficacy of intranasal ketamine in decreasing acute suicidality in teenagers admitted to the ED. They conducted a study in which 25 participants were randomized to receive intranasal ketamine while 25 participants were randomized to receive placebo. The investigators ultimately found no statistically significant difference i suicidality after 1 month of follow up with the level of significance fixed at 5%. They suspect inadequate statistical power. Assuming the investigators intend to keep the level of significance at 5%, which of the following changes would be most effective to increase the statistical power?
  • Decrease sample size
  • Increase type 1 error
  • Increase alpha
  • Decrease type 1 error
  • Decrease alpha
  • Increase beta
  • Decrease type 2 error
Click to Reveal the Correct Answer

Decrease type 2 error

Alisa Khomutova

Alisa received her B.S. from University of California, Davis, and attended Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. In 2020, she matched into Stony Brook Teaching Hospital practicing General Surgery for residency.

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