Case-Control Studies

  • Bryan Kestenbaum

Learning Objectives

  1. 1.

    Case-control studies work backwards, first identifying diseased and nondiseased individuals, and then ascertaining the frequency of previous exposures.

  2. 2.
    Ideal characteristics for selecting cases:
    1. a.

      Use a specific definition of the disease

    2. b.

      Select individuals who have incident disease

  3. 3.
    Ideal characteristics for selecting controls:
    1. a.

      Controls should derive from the same underlying population as the cases

    2. b.

      Controls should have the opportunity to be counted as cases if they develop disease

  4. 4.
    Case-control studies have certain advantages:
    1. a.

      Can be useful for studying rare outcomes and those with long latency periods

    2. b.

      Can be useful for evaluating multiple risk factors for a disease

  5. 5.
    Case-control studies have certain disadvantages:
    1. a.

      Observational design: other factors may be responsible for observed associations

    2. b.

      Recall bias may distort associations

  6. 6.

    Case-control studies can estimate only the relative risk of disease; the incidence and attributable risk cannot be determined from case-control data alone.

  7. 7.

    The primary measure of effect in a case-control study is the odds ratio.

  8. 8.

    Odds ratios approximate relative risks when the outcome is rare.



Developmental Disorder Oxidative Stress Marker Pervasive Developmental Disorder Kidney Dysfunction Specific Definition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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