Joseph's Reviews > Epidemiology

Epidemiology by Leon Gordis
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's review
Sep 12, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: reference
Recommended for: my coworkers
Read in September, 2007 — I own a copy

It's hard to review a textbook, because barring any extraordinary flaws, it is what it is: a textbook. That said, epidemiology as a subject is a little dry.

A lot of science reminds me of those people who insist on labeling anyone they come across. It's more than just an obsession with categorizing people; it's the disturbing belief that those categories really mean something. How important is it, really, to make sure everything has the proper name? Shouldn't the big ideas be more important than what they're called?

In more specific terms, the book seems to accomplish all that it sets out to do. It sets out, in relatively clear terms, the various ways in which we can study disease along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. It's far from a compelling read, but it is interesting. As a topic, epidemiology is actually a lot harder to get away from than you might expect; how long can a news report go without talking about some new study linking coffee consumption and libido, or what have you? And that's what this book is all about -- not coffee or my raging libido, but the ways that science tries to make connections between our environment and our bodies. With a little epidemiologic knowledge under one's belt, the tenuousness of those connections becomes a little more apparent, but conversely, one's appreciation for the validity of medical research grows.
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