The next stage: Molecular epidemiology

O. Shpilberg, J. S. Dorman, R. E. Ferrell, M. Trucco, A. Shahar, L. H. Kuller

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

42 Scopus citations


The traditional approach in epidemiology of relating exposure to an environmental agent such as a drug or infective agent has been to measure an overall risk (i.e., average and then 'adjust risk for demographic variables and other confounders'). An attempt is sometimes made to define a 'susceptible' subgroup. The analyses are usually based on good statistical methodology rather than an understanding of the interaction of body of host and agent. A twofold risk for 1000 exposed versus nonexposed people could be an average twofold risk for all 1000 exposed or a 20-fold risk for 100 exposed individuals (i.e., a drug-host interaction). Clearly, finding the 100 individuals with a 20-fold risk has much greater clinical importance than a twofold risk for 1000 people. The world of epidemiology may be changing - we may soon be able to define risk based on genetic susceptibility, at least sometimes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-638
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinogens
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Drugs
  • Genetics
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Susceptibility


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