Here, epidemiology is looking for aetiological clues both within groups of individuals and within the communities they live in. It is the substance of this chapter. Applying population data to individual risk
In this, the focus moves from the population back to the individual. For example, if the annual incidence rate for schizophrenia is known in a population and if this information is age-specific, it is possible to estimate the probability that a person of a given age will develop this disorder within the next year. This is the base rate, before one starts to consider risk factors such as family history. Next, by aggregating data on the course of schizophrenia, it is possible to estimate the chances of recovery for persons who are currently having their first episode. The common principle is that data based on large numbers of persons are used to make probability estimates for individuals.
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