1. When epidemiologists talk about exposure, what do they mean? An exposure is something we come in contact with, such as a virus. However, epidemiologists are most interested in exposures that we choose, such as air pollution.
2. What is a population? A population is a group of people who share a common interest or characteristic. For example, all children who attend the same school, work in the same company, or live in the same town are a population.
3. When is a population a cohort? A cohort is a group of people who share a common experience or characteristic. For example, all people who were born in the same year are a cohort.
4. What is a rate? A rate is a measurement of the frequency of an event. For example, the rate of suicide in a country is the number of suicides per 100,000 people living in the country.
5. What is the difference between incidence and prevalence? When the time between an exposure and the onset of the outcome is short, the disease is said to have a high incidence. Incidence is the number of new cases of a disease in a population over a period of time. When the time between exposure and disease onset is long, the disease is said to have a high prevalence. Prevalence is the number of people who have a disease in a population at a given point in time.
6. What is the difference between a cohort and a case-control study? A cohort study is a longitudinal investigation in which a group of people who share some common characteristic (such as age or gender) is followed over time. A case-control study is a study that compares people who have a disease (cases) with people who do not (controls).
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