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Commentary in Neurology
January 2010

Lost in Translation: Epidemiology, Risk, and Alzheimer Disease

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, School of Medicine, and Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Ganguli); and Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Kukull).

Arch Neurol. 2010;67(1):107-111. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.311

There is increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary translation in biomedical research.1 A major push toward prevention of Alzheimer disease (AD) is spawning translational research2 that should span basic, clinical, and population investigations. Epidemiological studies, which address our understanding of risk and protective factors for disease at the population level, are contributing less than they could to translational research. In part, this is because the key concept of risk is being “lost in translation,” muddling interpretations and leading to interdisciplinary frustrations. As epidemiologists, we offer a framework for resolving some of the confusion.

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