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Epidemiology. 1994 May;5(3):297-301.

Potential pitfalls in interpreting maps of stabilized rates.

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Department of International Health and Biostatistics, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Erratum in

  • Epidemiology 1994 Sep;5(5):555.


There have been many advances in the mapping of disease mortality and morbidity rates in recent years. An increasingly common approach is to calculate "stabilized" rates for individual geographic areas by incorporating information from the entire set of data. One such method, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency [corrected] for its mortality maps, is described and applied to national end-stage renal disease data. Some possible difficulties in interpretation are noted, resulting from: (1) insufficient shrinkage, (2) highly skewed rate distributions, (3) different denominator distributions, and (4) variations in population density.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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