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  1. Hummel-Berry, Kathie PhD, PT


This informational article explores epidemiological thinking in the context of rehabilitation inquiry and decision making. Key epidemiological concepts that are of particular value to the rehabilitation professional are defined. Examples derived from recent evidence in oncology are used to illustrate the application of epidemiological methodology in rehabilitation, clinical decision making, and research. The concepts of incidence and prevalence are discussed in the context of appropriate confounder control, particularly in relation to the way that age confounding may lead to spurious conclusions in rehabilitation analysis. The article explores the effects of availability of accurate diagnostic methods and patient health-seeking behavior on the incidence statistic within a context of global health care. Risk factors that are relevant to the geriatric population are discussed in terms of their relationship to judgments about cause and effect, and in the context of the design of health promotion programs. Causal inference is discussed in the context of clinical decision making on the basis of best evidence.