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Biometrics. 1982 Mar;38 Suppl:33-45.

Jerome Cornfield's contributions to epidemiology.


This paper reviews the contributions Jerome Cornfield made to epidemiologic methodology. Section 2 discusses his development of the odds ratio obtained in a case-control study as an estimate of the relative risk of the disease under study. Section 3 presents Cornfield's introduction of the multiple logistic risk function as a smoothing function for data classified in a multi-way contingency table in order to determine the joint effects of several risk factors on the incidence of a disease. Section 4 gives a brief description of his work in the analysis of contingency tables. In Section 5, there is a summary of his views on a number of issues relating to the research, mostly case-control studies, on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer. The discussion in this section is selective and undoubtedly does not reflect all the important things he had to say on the subject. Finally, in Section 6, there is a discussion, based on only one of his papers on the subject, of some very significant thoughts on intervention studies in coronary disease.

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