By David D Celentano, ScD, MHS and Moyses Szklo, MD
Pub Date: 26 Nov 2018
Reviewed by: Michael A O’Rorke, PhD (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
This sixth edition of a renowned introduction to the basic principles and concepts of epidemiology has been updated, revised, and expanded. It also provides an enhanced digital version that includes access to an online (PDF style) version of the book with easy access to high quality images, which can be copied and saved for presentation in other formats. Hyperlinks and signposting to other chapters are available, and the references are linked by PMIDs to the original article. The fifth edition was published in 2014.
The book provides insights into the use of epidemiological approaches and principles related to the occurrence, prevention, surveillance, etiology, and control of health conditions and diseases in defined populations, and demonstrates the practical uses of epidemiology in evaluating health services and policy implementation. The digital version enhances both readability and portability, as well as leveraging its potential as an educational resource.
This book is ideal for students requiring grounding in the principles and practice of epidemiology, but is equally a fantastic reference for professionals involved in the teaching of epidemiology in various settings and for those needing to confirm their understanding of essential information.
The first five editions of this book were authored by the late Professor Leon Gordis. Elements of this edition have been sensitively expanded, updated, and revised by two new authors (David Celentano and Moyses Szklo), both of whom were trained in public health at Johns Hopkins under the guidance of Professor Gordis during the earlier parts of their careers, with valuable contributions from several notable epidemiologists. While the overall organization of the book resembles the fifth edition (three identically labeled section headings with similarly named chapters in each), subtly updated references, review questions, and examples, and the addition of colored/replacement figures are evident throughout. The overall length remains almost the same (420 pages versus 416 in the fifth edition). Each chapter begins with revised learning objectives and, as is traditional with this book, concludes with a set of review questions to test readers’ knowledge and consolidate their learning. Although the answers to the review questions are provided at the back of the book, they do not detail how to work them out.
There is marked restructuring in section II “Using Epidemiology to Identify the Cause of Disease,” where there are now 10 chapters (compared to eight in the fifth edition). Much of these changes reflect the reorganization of the section to emphasize a hierarchy of evidence-based practice, discussing study designs ranging from case reports and case series (the lowest level of evidence) all the way up to the randomized controlled trial (considered the gold standard of study designs). Oddly, meta-analyses aren’t mentioned in this section, but are covered later on in the epidemiology and public policy chapters, which have also been updated and expanded. It is noteworthy that chapter 16 on genetic epidemiology has been given an overhaul. It is written with more concision (two pages shorter than the fifth edition), and the sequencing of information has been changed, bringing discussions around complex diseases and seminal findings from twin, adoption, and migrant studies before the application of genetic markers and precision medicine. There is also a very useful glossary of genetic terms at the end of the chapter, defining terminologies which may be unfamiliar to some readers, but it’s not exhaustive.
Doody’s Review Service Weighted Numerical Score: 93-4 Stars!