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This book should have helped the reader to move from having heard (perhaps) of epidemiology to knowing epidemiology by the acquisition of some familiarity with its language and ways of reasoning and operating. The essentials of epidemiological jargon being clear, it will also be possible to get a grip on the meaning of the many terms that could not be included in the book and can be found by consulting when necessary the volume by M. Porta (ed.), A Dictionary of Epidemiology, 5th edn. (Oxford University Press, 2008).
A fascinating illustration of imaginative and rigorous ‘diagnostic reasoning’, at the core both of epidemiology (at population level) and of clinical medicine (at the individual level) springs from the stories that the late medical writer Berton Roueché presented over several decades in The New Yorker. A highly readable selection is collected in B. Roueché, The Medical Detectives (Penguin Books/Plume, 1991).

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Using epidemiology requires us to go beyond surface familiarity with the subject. It implies not only the ability to read and appreciate an epidemiological paper or report, as someone who knows epidemiology can do, but also the skill for scrutinizing its methods and critically assessing its results and conclusions. Health professionals not directly practising epidemiology need to possess this skill to a degree sufficient for gauging the relevance of epidemiological findings to their daily work in clinical medicine or public health. Given favourable individual circumstances, this objective might be attained even by a self-teaching endeavour. There is no way, however, that such skill can be acquired through a simple accumulation of readings. Advancing through successive steps must be accompanied by a number of practical exercises in statistical and epidemiological methods. Suitable introductory books to the former are: D. Altman, D. Machin, T. Bryant, and S. Gardner, Statistics with Confidence, 2nd edn. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000) and S. A. Glantz, Primer of Biostatistics, 5th edn. (McGraw-Hill, 2002). For epidemiological methods, one may refer to R. Bonita, R. Beaglehole, and T. Kjellström, Basic Epidemiology, 2nd edn. (World Health Organization, 2006) and to K. J. Rothman, Epidemiology: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2002). A useful addition to the questions and exercises in these two books is the substantial set of exercises, with answers, presented in S. E. Norell, Workbook of Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 1995).
A computer-assisted learning package for basic epidemiological methods has been prepared and tested by C. du Florey and is available at no cost at the website: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~cdvflore/. The International Epidemiological Association (IEA) website (http://www.IEAweb.org) cites without commentary a number of other didactic packages.
Short intensive courses in epidemiological methods, one to four weeks long, are available in several countries, and a selection of these is quoted in the R. Bonita et al. book mentioned above. The IEA organizes courses in developing countries and sponsors the residential summer school of the European Educational Programme in Epidemiology (http://www.eepe.org).

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Progressing from using epidemiology to doing it means becoming a professional regularly carrying out epidemiological work either in research or in service activities, or both. Substantial training is required, formal through special courses as well as informal through actual practice, to reach this level of competence. A vast array of books is available, among which a few key references may be quoted, some of recent date and some less recent that have withstood the test of time. For statistical methods, a classic is P. Armitage, G. Berry, and J. N. S. Matthews, Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 4th edn. (Blackwell Science, 2002). Specific to statistical methods in epidemiology are the book by D. Clayton and M. Hills, Statistical Models in Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 1993) and the two volumes by N. E. Breslow and N. E. Day, Statistical Methods for Cancer Research (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1980 and 1987). Current epidemiological methods are comprehensively treated in K. J. Rothman, S. Greenland, and T. L. Lasch, Modern Epidemiology, 3rd edn. (Wolters Kluwer, 2008). Epidemiology in relation to broad classes of health and disease determinants, environmental, nutritional, and genetic, are covered respectively in D. Baker and M. J. Nieuwenhuijsen, Environmental Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 2008), W. Willett, Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd edn. (Oxford University Press, 1996), and L. Palmer, G. Davey-Smith, and P. Burton (eds.), An Introduction to Genetic Epidemiology (The Policy Press, 2009). Epidemiology in the clinical medicine context is developed in R. B. Haynes, D. L. Sackett, G. Guyatt, and P. Tugwell, Clinical epidemiology: how to do clinical practice research, 3rd edn. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006), and randomized clinical trials are addressed in S. J. Pocock, Clinical Trials, A Practical Approach (Wiley, 1983).
A wide spectrum of topics, including epidemiology, pertinent to health and diseases in populations is surveyed in the three volumes of R. Detels, R. Beaglehole, M. A. Lansing, and M. Gulliford, Oxford Textbook of Public Health, 5th edn. (Oxford University Press, 2009); although some of the more general chapters may be accessible to the lay reader, this is a text for professionals.

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