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July 1974

Use and Misuse of "Epidemiology"-Reply

Author Affiliations

Southfield, Mich

San Francisco Members of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group

Arch Dermatol. 1974;110(1):132. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630070090034

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To the Editor.—  On behalf of all members of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, we are responding to the comments of Allen and Taplin regarding our article that appeared in the October 1973 issue of the Archives.The criticism of definitions, ie, of the use of the word "epidemiology" instead of "prevalence" is justifiable if one adheres to accepted strict definitions in epidemiology. Perhaps our paper would have best been called "A Clinical Study of Contact Dermatitis in Patients with Eczema." However, it is questionable whether the criticism is just that the main conclusions of the article are not valid because of the "unrepresentative and biased sample of the population at risk." There is no reason for assuming that patients, for example, with nickel hypersensitivity, or with wool wax alcohol hypersensitivity, or with formalin hypersensitivity, or with p-phenylenediamine hypersensitivity, would be present selectively or preponderantly due to any

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