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Introduction: Why we wrote this book 

Introduction: Why we wrote this book
Chapter:
Introduction: Why we wrote this book
Author(s):

J. Frank

, R. Jepson

, and A. J. Williams

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198725862.003.0001
Page of

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date: 26 November 2020

This introductory chapter explains the rationale for writing this book, starting with the increasingly frequent and bold claims made for preventive medical and public health interventions, in the modern era. It introduces the science of epidemiology, the core academic discipline on which the book is founded, explaining how various sorts of research studies, typically involving thousands of healthy persons, are carried out to establish both the causes of disease, as well as the effectiveness of interventions to prevent ill health. A conceptual framework for making sound decisions about prevention is introduced, and an outline of the book’s content—chapter by chapter—is provided. Finally, the importance of preventive ethical considerations is highlighted, given that virtually all preventive interventions have some ‘winners’ (whose health is improved as a result), and some ‘losers’ (whose health is made worse.)

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