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J Prev Med Public Health > Volume 42(6); 2009 > Article
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2009;42(6): 343-348. doi: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2009.42.6.343
Issues in the Design of Molecular and Genetic Epidemiologic Studies.
Jay H Fowke
Division of Epidemiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA. jay.fowke@vanderbilt.edu
ABSTRACT
The final decision of study design in molecular and genetic epidemiology is usually a compromise between the research study aims and a number of logistical and ethical barriers that may limit the feasibility of the study or the interpretation of results. Although biomarker measurements may improve exposure or disease assessments, it is necessary to address the possibility that biomarker measurement inserts additional sources of misclassification and confounding that may lead to inconsistencies across the research literature. Studies targeting multi-causal diseases and investigating gene-environment interactions must not only meet the needs of a traditional epidemiologic study but also the needs of the biomarker investigation. This paper is intended to highlight the major issues that need to be considered when developing an epidemiologic study utilizing biomarkers. These issues covers from molecular and genetic epidemiology (MGE) study designs including cross-sectional, cohort, case-control, clinical trials, nested case-control, and case-only studies to matching the study design to the MGE research goals. This review summarizes logistical barriers and the most common epidemiological study designs most relevant to MGE and describes the strengths and limitations of each approach in the context of common MGE research aims to meet specific MEG objectives.
Key words: Biomarker; Epidemiology; Study design
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