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Book Forum: Outcome Measures and Epidemiology   |    
Epidemiological Studies: A Practical Guide, 2nd ed.
WILLIAM R. YATES, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2003;160:1370-1370. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.7.1370
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By Alan J. Silman and Gary J. Macfarlane. Cambridge, U.K., Cambridge University Press, 2002, 241 pp., $85.00; $30.00 (paper).

The foreword to the second edition of Epidemiological Studies outlines this book as one that "explains the nuts and bolts of epidemiology, and serves as a handbook for those who wish to do epidemiology." Additionally, it says, "It will be an excellent introduction to anyone who is training in epidemiology and public health, and for all those involved in medical research."

This book is a general epidemiology text, although some of the examples relate to psychiatric disorders. There are seven sections and 21 chapters. Section headings include an introduction and miscellaneous topic sections along with sections titled Measuring the Occurrence of Disease, Studying Associations Between Risk Factors and Disease, Selection of Populations and Samples to Study, Information From Epidemiological Studies, and Analysis and Interpretation of Epidemiological Data.

The chapters are generally well written with enough depth to provide an introduction to most of the key topics in epidemiology. Frequent examples provide practical applications for specific topics. The examples, unfortunately, are often very brief and fail to elaborate on key issues.

I found the mathematical formulas easy to understand and quite helpful. The mathematical sections are not too complex and provide an introduction to some of the methods of calculating key variables in epidemiology. For example, the formulas and examples for calculating an odds ratio and confidence interval around a prevalence proportion were informative. The authors could have improved this section by directing the reader to Internet resources that provide statistical calculation tools related to epidemiological research. Two of my favorite sites are 1) a site maintained by the University of Utah: <http://www.ped.med.utah.edu/genpedscrr/Epibio.htm> and 2) a page maintained by John C. Pezzullo that lists a roster of sites for specific statistical tests: <http://members.aol. com/johnp71/javastat.html>.

Epidemiological Studies meets its goal of targeting those interested in beginning the study of epidemiology and public health. For psychiatrists interested in a more focused text concentrating on psychiatry I would recommend the second edition of the Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology, edited by Ming Tsuang and Mauricio Tohen (1). Although this text costs four to five times the paper version of Epidemiological Studies, the extra expense is well worth it. You will get an introduction to epidemiological methods and an outstanding review of the current state of knowledge in psychiatric epidemiology.

Reprints are not available; however, Book Forum reviews can be downloaded at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org.

Tsuang M, Tohen M (eds): Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2nd ed. New York, Wiley-Liss (John Wiley & Sons), 2002
 
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References

Tsuang M, Tohen M (eds): Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2nd ed. New York, Wiley-Liss (John Wiley & Sons), 2002
 
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