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Principles of Exposure Measurement in EpidemiologyCollecting, Evaluating, and Improving Measures of Disease Risk Factors$
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Emily White, Bruce K. Armstrong, and Rodolfo Saracci

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198509851

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509851.001.0001

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Exposure measurement

Exposure measurement

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Exposure measurement
Source:
Principles of Exposure Measurement in Epidemiology
Author(s):

Emily White

Bruce K. Armstrong

Rodolfo Saracci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509851.003.0001

This chapter covers the initial steps in exposure measurement that should occur during the planning of an epidemiologic study of the relationship between an exposure (risk factor) and a disease (or other outcome). This process should begin with conceptualizing the true exposure hypothesized to cause the disease. Key issues related to the true exposure include specifying the active agent and determining where in the exposure-disease biologic sequence to measure the exposure. Since the true exposure is often not measurable, the researcher needs to create an operational measure of exposure. This involves determining the appropriate exposure variable (e.g., cumulative dose of the active agent over some aetiologically important time period), the individual items that need to be collected, and the measurement instrument(s). The issues and terminology around defining the most appropriate dose representation and the most critical time window during which the exposure has the greatest effect on disease risk are discussed.

Keywords:   true exposure, exposure-disease biologic sequence, cumulative dose, exposure time window, critical time period, induction period, latent period, reference date, reverse causality

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