Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
Case by case, and in a selective manner, all such considerations and
criteria as indicated may be used in various building blocks of an argument.
From such a list of criteria, causation may be evaluated by listing their
applicability individually, as was done in the historical example of the
Surgeon General's evaluation of smoking and health 66 :
Surgeon General's Report on Smoking
and Health (Especially Lung Cancer) 65,66
Criteria of Causality
Temporality
Yes
Strength
Yes
Specificity
Manifestational
Poorly known
Causal
Yes
Biological gradient
Yes
Consistency
Yes
Biological plausibility
Yes
Coherence with prevalent knowledge
To be followed
Analogy
Hard to assess
Experimental proof
Yes
Other similar evaluations were done in an increasing number of domains
including social support and various aspects of health 68 and medicine as well. 69
Hence from all these causal criteria and considerations, especially
strength, specificity of a cause-effect relationship and biological gradient
are subject to quantification. For this purpose, disease frequency is used in
absolute and relative terms.
2.2.1.4 Disease or Event Frequencies and 
Fractions in Causal Reasoning
To see and compare, we need number of events (disease, exposure to causal
factors, their results): either absolute numbers ( frequencies ) or fractions
(relative frequencies) such as rates, ratios, or odds. An idea of causality
requires comparisons of events (disease cases, exposure to noxious factors,
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