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BACKGROUND Africa is in an orphan-care crisis. In Zimbabwe, where one-fourth of adults are HIV-positive and one-fifth of children are orphans, AIDS and economic decline are straining society's ability to care for orphans within their extended families. Lack of stable care is putting thousands of children at heightened risk of malnourishment, emotional(More)
This commentary accompanies two articles submitted to Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations in response to a call for papers about threats to epidemiology or epidemiologists from organized political interests. Contrary to our expectations, we received no submissions that described threats from industry or government; all were about threats from(More)
Austin Bradford Hill's landmark 1965 paper contains several important lessons for the current conduct of epidemiology. Unfortunately, it is almost exclusively cited as the source of the "Bradford-Hill criteria" for inferring causation when association is observed, despite Hill's explicit statement that cause-effect decisions cannot be based on a set of(More)
BACKGROUND Publication bias, as typically defined, refers to the decreased likelihood of studies' results being published when they are near the null, not statistically significant, or otherwise "less interesting." But choices about how to analyze the data and which results to report create a publication bias within the published results, a bias I label(More)
There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate. The bulk of the evidence takes the form of thousands of adverse event reports. There is also a small amount of systematically-gathered data. The adverse event reports provide compelling evidence of(More)
BACKGROUND Compared to smoking cigarettes, use of Western smokeless tobacco (ST) products is associated with a very small risk of life-threatening disease (with estimates in the range of a few percent of the risk from smoking, or even less). This means that smokers can realize substantial health benefits by switching to ST, an obvious substitute. But(More)
Despite the well-known risks of smoking, policy, social pressure, and accessible cessation programs, tens of millions of North American adults continue smoking rather than quitting or switching to less harmful non-combustion nicotine products. We surveyed people smoking in public in Edmonton, Canada (n = 242, year = 2007) to investigate smokers' reasons for(More)
BACKGROUND Although smokeless tobacco (ST) use has played a major role in the low smoking prevalence among Swedish men, there is little information at the population level about ST as a smoking cessation aid in the U.S. METHODS We used the 2000 National Health Interview Survey to derive population estimates for the number of smokers who had tried twelve(More)
BACKGROUND All quantifications of mortality, morbidity, and other health measures involve numerous sources of error. The routine quantification of random sampling error makes it easy to forget that other sources of error can and should be quantified. When a quantification does not involve sampling, error is almost never quantified and results are often(More)
Two persistent myths in epidemiology are that we can use a list of "causal criteria" to provide an algorithmic approach to inferring causation and that a modern "counterfactual model" can assist in the same endeavor. We argue that these are neither criteria nor a model, but that lists of causal considerations and formalizations of the counterfactual(More)