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Concepts of epidemiology: an integrated introduction to the ideas, theories, principles and methods of epidemiology
  1. Adriano Decarli
  1. Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Brescia, Italy

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    R Bhopal. (Pp 317; price not stated). Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-19-263155-1

    The main focus of Concepts of epidemiology by Raj Bhopal is on giving readers the key concepts on which the practice of epidemiology is based. For this reason, it is deliberately simple to overcome the gap between the theoretical concepts of epidemiology, and the practical problems derived from the application of these concepts in the everyday epidemiological work.

    The book is structured in 10 chapters and a section of “References and further reading” including for each chapter a list of suggested references for the readers who would like to go beyond the description given in the book. Within each chapter, and outlined by grey boxes, there are short sentences, which try to stimulate the reader on questions relating to real problems, or that give useful schemes emphasising various aspects of concern in the application of epidemiology. These grey boxes are extremely useful to the readers as they play the part, on a limited issue, of a self administered test. This book differs from other ones that have the same target in many ways. For instance, (a) the book’s main concern is to give an extensive explanation of the epidemiological concepts: whereas in other books the emphasis is on the mathematical methods, in Bhopal’s book the emphasis is on gaining understanding and not on calculation, except where this is essential to understand; (b) the practical applications of each concept are considerd, and illustrated with examples drawn from up dated research and public health practice, including healthcare policy and planning; (c) the epidemiological idea of population is explicitly the foundation of the whole book, while in others this idea is implicit and often neglected.

    For all these reasons this book, designed to be read as a whole, can be useful either as a basic text of epidemiology in graduate and postgraduate schools or as a refresher for epidemiologists, health service managers, or health policy makers