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October 22, 1982

Case-Control Studies: Design, Conduct, Analysis

Author Affiliations

Drug Epidemiology Unit Boston University School of Medicine


by James J. Schlesselman (Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics), 354 pp, with illus, $24.95, New York, Oxford University Press, 1982.

JAMA. 1982;248(16):2055. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330160093041

The case-control approach is as old as clinical medicine itself, but in a quantitative sense the method is of recent vintage. Perhaps for this reason, case-control studies have frequently been misunderstood, even though they have proved to be powerful and efficient tools in investigating the causes of disease. Without them, we would know little or nothing about the effect of radiation therapy on the risk of leukemia, or of antenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure on the risk of vaginal cancer—to give just two examples.

The author points out that the literature on the method is scattered and that there is no comprehensive guide (although a more statistical text concerned with analysis appeared in 19801). He deserves our warm thanks for providing a remedy in the form of a fluent text that can be read either for its conceptual content (large print) or for its technical content (small print). This book provides