eLetters

55 e-Letters

published between 2000 and 2003

  • The problem with superpowers
    Richard Stephens

    Dear Editor

    I heard this study reported on the Today programme on Radio 4. What effective dissemination! I applaud the inclusion of SES as a covariate in this study, and I agree that the correlational effects reported are of interest. Nevertheless, I believe that one important aspect of the interpretation of the study is omitted from the discussion. This is the small effect sizes.

    In...

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  • Re: Mathematical modeling of SARS: Cautious in all our movements
    Ying-Hen Hsieh

    Dear Editor

    Dr Nishiura [1] accentuated that caution must be exercised in using mathematical models to ascertain the recent SARS epidemics.

    The key issue, as we believe, is to understand the model and its results for what they are and, more importantly, for what they are not. It is especially true with the basic reproductive number R0, or its variant the effective reproductive number at time t Rt, which has bee...

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  • HIA should be prospective
    Carolyn A. Lester

    Dear Editor

    The focus group research by Thomson and colleagues is, as they themselves suggest, not strictly Health Impact Assessment (HIA). Whilst it gives valuable insights into the perceived health impacts on a local community of closing an existing leisure facility, this was not a joint exercise with service providers with a view to lessening any negative impacts.

    To achieve optimum benefits for local re...

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  • Mathematical modeling of SARS: Cautious in all our movements
    Hiroshi Nishiura

    Dear Editor

    Dr Bernard CK Choi and Dr Anita WP Pak recently developed a simple approximate mathematical model to predict the cumulative incidence and death.[1] Although it’s certainly easy to understand and to use as they stated, every users must be cautious about misunderstanding the real applications and evaluations for SARS epidemics. This problem originates in their too rough assumptions.

    Firstly,...

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  • Fibrinogen, social position and risk of heart disease
    John Macleod

    Dear Editor

    The report by Jousilahti and colleagues in the 2003 September's issue of JECH adds to growing evidence of a consistent association between serum inflammatory markers – particularly fibrinogen – and social position. [1-3]

    These authors interpret their data as suggesting that the fibrinogen-social position link is not merely a reflection of the social patterning of prevalent disease, smoking and obesi...

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  • No place for modesty
    Charles R Douglas

    Dear Editor

    “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him....But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, "We did it ourselves.”

    Clearly John Ashton’s aphorism mirrors Lao Tzu’s thoughts on leadership, and is thus hard to argue against. However I think public health practitioner...

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  • Re: Social Epidemiology, Intra-Neighbourhood Correlation and Generalized Estimating Equations
    Juan Merlo

    Dear Editor

    I have read with high interest the comments made by Petronis and Anthony on my editorial.[1] I have also read their forthcoming article,[2] and I believe they apply an analytical approach that seems to be, in my opinion, a step in the right direction for research on contextual influences and health that focus on investigation of clustering. I will be very pleased of writing a larger comment and send i...

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  • Epidemiology of SARS - the missing pathogen?
    Robert A Frizzell
    Dear Editor

    This is indeed a strange disease. The epidemiology suggests it to be of relatively low infectivity, but high severity.This in itself is odd, especially if the causative agent is a virus and the principal mode of spread by coughing/droplet.Also odd is the undoubted existence of "superspreaders", who can infect very many of their contacts - I can't think of any parallels to this in respiratory virology....

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  • Authors reply
    Nina S Godtfredsen

    We appreciate the comments from Cope et al on our paper reporting the association between smoking cessation and smoking reduction and subsequent risk of myocardial infarction (1). Specifically, Cope et al propose that the lack of a beneficial effect of reduced smoking - in contrast to smoking cessation - could be due to inaccuracy (underreporting) of the self-reported tobacco consumption. In addition, Cope et al raise the...

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  • Social Epidemiology, Intra-Neighbourhood Correlation and Generalized Estimating Equations
    Kenneth R. Petronis

    Dear Editor,

    The recent editorial entitled "Multilevel analytical approaches in social epidemiology: measures of health variation compared with traditional measures of association" [1] offers an interesting critique of the generalized estimating equations (GEE) analysis of a paper published in the same issue of JECH (August 2003). In the editorial, the author notes that the paper's GEE analysis treats "the intr...

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