Exact statistical tests for heterogeneity of frequencies based on extreme values

Chih Chieh Wu, Roger C. Grimson, Sanjay Shete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Sophisticated statistical analyses of incidence frequencies are often required for various epidemiologic and biomedical applications. Among the most commonly applied methods is the Pearson's 2 test, which is structured to detect non specific anomalous patterns of frequencies and is useful for testing the significance for incidence heterogeneity. However, the Pearson's 2 test is not efficient for assessing the significance of frequency in a particular cell (or class) to be attributed to chance alone. We recently developed statistical tests for detecting temporal anomalies of disease cases based on maximum and minimum frequencies; these tests are actually designed to test of significance for a particular high or low frequency. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate merits of these tests in epidemiologic and biomedical studies. We show that our proposed methods are more sensitive and powerful for testing extreme cell counts than is the Pearson's 2 test. This feature could provide important and valuable information in epidemiologic or biomeidcal studies. We elucidated and illustrated the differences in sensitivity among our tests and the Pearson's 2 test by analyzing a data set of Langerhans cell histiocytosis cases and its hypothetical sets. We also computed and compared the statistical power of these methods using various sets of cell numbers and alternative frequencies. The investigation of statistical sensitivity and power presented in this work will provide investigators with useful guidelines for selecting the appropriate tests for their studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-623
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications in Statistics: Simulation and Computation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation


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