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Edited by F P Rivara, P Cummings, T D Koepsell, D C Grossman, R V Maier. (Pp 280; £60). Cambridge University Pess, 2001. ISBN 0-521-66152-8
This book aims to catalogue the research designs available for all those involved in injury control and research. It is aimed particularly at those who wish to improve their understanding, review injury research or conduct research in the field, so essentially it is a reference text. It is a hard backed book, 280 pages long, written by a group of epidemiologists and trauma surgeons from Harbourview Medical Center in Seattle.
To a large extent this book is successful in its aim. It has 20 chapters and begins with a historical review of what injury research has achieved to date. The future challenges of improved management for traumatic brain injury, multi-organ failure prevention and the measurement of disability are laid before us.
The first half of the book lays the baseline and describes injury scoring systems, the use of secondary databases, how to select the correct study design and issues such as sampling. Some of these first 10 chapters are useful, others, such as that on rates and epidemiological principles, lack worked examples that would have helped when explaining issues, such as the difference between direct and indirect standardisation and the different forms of regression analysis. This half of the book fails to acknowledge the contribution of physiologists and animal work. In general the book has a large epidemiological bias, reflecting the backgrounds of the contributors from either side of the Atlantic.
The second half of the book generally cuts to the chase and details the different types of studies available to those conducting research. There are useful contributions from either side of the Atlantic. Ian Stiell's section on developing decision rules is particularly inspiring.
Despite its omissions this book is a useful reference text for those undertaking research in injury and those wishing to broaden their knowledge and understanding with some focused reading. Hopefully, the next edition will contain more contributions from emergency physicians who have improved the evidence base for trauma care with quality research. Injury control needs a clinician's as well as an epidemiological perspective.
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