Case Control Studies Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Case Control Studies?
Case control studies are epidemiological research methods used in medical and health-related sciences to identify causes of diseases or conditions. They are observational studies that compare individuals affected by a particular disease, condition, or outcome (the cases) with similar individuals who have not been affected (the controls). The goal is to identify factors that may be associated with the development of the disease or condition. Case control studies start by identifying the cases and controls. Cases typically come from patient records at hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities however it’s important to note that people can also be identified as cases through surveys and screenings. Controls usually come from the same general population where cases were identified they should match the cases in terms of age, gender, race/ethnicity, lifestyle factors like smoking status and educational background when possible. After this initial step is completed researchers then collect data on exposures related to the condition being studied – such as diet, lifestyle habits, medications taken etc. Researchers then analyze this data looking for differences between cases and controls which could indicate an association between exposure and risk for developing a certain disease or condition. The primary benefit of case control studies is their efficiency – because they rely on existing data instead of generating new information researchers can answer questions quickly without requiring large sample sizes making them relatively cost effective when compared to prospective cohort studies which follow participants over time collecting data about exposures before outcomes occur. Additionally since these types of studies do not require tracking multiple exposures over time results tend to be easier to interpret than those from more complex study designs such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs). On the other hand one limitation of case control studies is selection bias – if there are systematic differences between how people become exposed (cases) versus how people remain unexposed (controls) then it’s possible that any observed associations between exposure and risk could simply reflect these differences rather than true causal relationships between exposure and outcome. Additionally recall bias can also be an issue since participants often report past behaviors even though investigators try to minimize this effect by using structured questionnaires it is impossible to completely eliminate potential distortions due to memory lapses etc.. Finally although case control studies offer many advantages their findings are still considered weaker evidence when compared with RCTs this means additional research will likely need to be conducted before any definitive conclusions can be drawn from these types of investigations.