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Statistical Models and Causal Inference by Jasjeet S. Sekhon, David Collier, David A. Freedman

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10The Swine Flu Vaccine and Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Case Study in Relative Risk and Specific Causation

With Philip B. Stark

        ABSTRACT. Epidemiologic methods were developed to prove general causation: identifying exposures that increase the risk of particular diseases. Courts often are more interested in specific causation: On balance of probabilities, was the plaintiff’s disease caused by exposure to the agent in question? Some authorities have suggested that a relative risk greater than 2.0 meets the standard of proof for specific causation. Such a definite criterion is appealing, but there are difficulties. Bias and confounding are familiar problems; and individual differences must also be considered. The issues are explored in the ...

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