Improving the Sensitivity of Epidemiologic Studies

Thomas D. Koepsell and Noel S. Weiss

in Epidemiologic Methods

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195150780
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865161 | DOI:
 Improving the Sensitivity of Epidemiologic Studies

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If an exposure truly has the capacity to cause a disease, at least in a portion of exposed individuals, a sensitive epidemiologic study is one that will observe an association between that exposure and the disease. If an epidemiologic study is large enough to render chance an unlikely explanation for that association, the study is deemed to have a high level of statistical power. This chapter discusses strategies that can enhance sensitivity, irrespective of the size of the available study population. These strategies include: (i) disaggregation of categories of the exposure of concern that are heterogeneous with respect to their impact on disease occurrence; (ii) disaggregation of disease entities that are heterogeneous with respect to their association with the exposure of concern; and (iii) disaggregation of study subjects who, because of the presence of one or more other exposures or characteristics, are not affected to the same degree by the exposure of concern. Exercises are provided at the end of the chapter.

Keywords: epidemiology; epidemiological research; exposure; disaggregation

Chapter.  10319 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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