Epidemiology reading list

April 14, 2010 at 9:40 am | Posted in ReadingList | Leave a comment

We have put together a reading list around epidemiology [see issue 25], which covers:

  • Bradford Hill’s classic paper on association and causation
  • How to weigh evidence in making causal inferences
  • Using epidemiological evidence in decision-making to prevent harm to health

Bradford Hill

The Environment and Disease: Association or Causation (Bradford Hill, A. 1965)

Calculating the strength of epidemiological studies

The role of causal criteria in causal inferences: Bradford Hill’s “aspects of association” (Ward, AC. 2009) “… while the use of causal criteria is not appropriate for either deductive or inductive inferences, they do have an important role to play in inferences to the best explanation”

A weight of evidence approach to causal inference (Swaen G, van Amelsvoort L. 2009) “Our objective is to provide an empirical basis for weighing the Bradford Hill criteria and to develop a transparent method to estimate the probability for causality.”

The problems with some epidemiological studies (Farmer, R. 2007) “No study is perfect […] unless studies are evaluated and interpreted with care they may result in more harm than good.”

The missed lessons of Sir Austin Bradford Hill (Phillips CV and Goodman KJ. 2004) “These lessons, which offer ways to dramatically increase the contribution of health science to decision making, are as needed today as they were when Hill presented them.”

Using epidemiological evidence in decision-making

Establishing evidence for early action: the prevention of reproductive and developmental harm (Gee, D. 2008) “In determining when there is a sufficiency of evidence to justify early prevention of harm, decision-makers need to take account of the implications of multicausality, the methodological biases within environmental sciences, and the need to take precautionary, as well as preventive actions to eliminate or reduce exposures.”

Causality and the interpretation of epidemiologic evidence (Kundi, M. 2007) “The criteria of causation… are often schematically applied and, furthermore, there is a tendency to misinterpret the lack of evidence for causation as evidence for lack of a causal relation.”

Late lessons from early warnings: Toward realism and precaution with endocrine-disrupting substances (Gee, D. 2006) Precautionary principle “issues include the contingent nature of knowledge; the definitions of precaution, prevention, risk, uncertainty, and ignorance; the use of differential levels of proof; and the nature and main direction of the methodological and cultural biases within the environmental health sciences.”

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