Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

Epidemiology and Culture

Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

Epidemiology and Culture

Article excerpt

Epidemiology and Culture James A. Trostle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0521790505 (CLOTH), 978-0521793896 (PAPER), 978-0511110009 (E-BOOK); 228 PAGES, CLOTH $70.00, PAPER $27.99

Have you ever wondered whether the study you're reading in the medical literature has any 'real world' validity? If so, reading Epidemiology and Culture will be time well spent. Its main goal is to convince readers that anthropology is often essential to good epidemiology. While anthropology is largely observational and studies patterns of human and cultural behavior, epidemiology is observational as well as interventional and studies patterns of disease. The main value of Epidemiology and Culture for most readers, however, may be to alert them to important considerations while reading scientific studies.

Trostle explores the varied meanings of epidemiological terms and concepts (which can vary not only across, but also within, cultures) while outlining the effects these variations can have on research outcomes and study validity. He recognizes that what researchers choose to measure and compare is often a surrogate for what they truly seek to evaluate. Epidemiology systematically examines parameters (such as person, time, place, and risk) and the degree to which they are true reflections of a study's goals (such as the relationship between exposure/ environment and disease). …

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