Epidemiology Chapter Summary

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Chapter 1. What is epidemiology?
More chapters in Epidemiology for the uninitiated

Epidemiology is the study of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why. Epidemiological information is used to plan and evaluate strategies to prevent illness and as a guide to the management of patients in whom disease has already developed.

Like the clinical findings and pathology, the epidemiology of a disease is an integral part of its basic description. The subject has its special techniques of data collection and interpretation, and its necessary jargon for technical terms. This short book aims to provide an ABC of the epidemiological approach, its terminology, and its methods. Our only assumption will be that readers already believe
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For example, in a survey of back pain and its possible causes, the target population was all potential back pain sufferers. The study population was defined as all people aged 20-59 from eight communities, and a sample of subjects was then randomly selected for investigation from within this study population. With this design, inference from the study sample to the study population is free from systematic sampling error, but further extrapolation to the target population remains a matter of…show more content…
Clues will be missed, or false clues created, if comparisons are biased by unequal ascertainment of cases or exposure levels. Of course, if everyone is equally exposed there will not be any clues - epidemiology thrives on heterogeneity. If everyone smoked 20 cigarettes a day the link with lung cancer would have been undetectable. Lung cancer might then have been considered a "genetic disease", because its distribution depended on susceptibility to the effects of

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