Research strategies for assessing epidemiolgic associations, in relation to the distribution and measurement of exposures
It seems important to distinguish epidemiologic effects that are small because the exposure (or characteristic) is unimportant for the study disease from effects that are small by virtue of study design and execution. In the former situation there is little variation in disease risk across the exposure levels that are within the range of common human experience and it follows that only a small fraction of current human disease burden can be attributed to the particular exposure. In the latter situation, a careful scrutiny of potential study populations, study designs, and exposure assessment instruments is needed to optimise the reliability and efficiency of research to assess the exposure-disease association.
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