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Title: Relative risks and odds ratios: simple rules on when and how to use them.
Authors: McKenzie, Dean
Thomas, Christopher
Keywords: Clinical Research
Clinical Interpretation
Health Promotion and Prevention
Relative Risks
Odds Ratios
Research Methods
Research Translation
Epworth HealthCare
Issue Date: Apr-2020
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Eur J Clin Invest. 2020 Apr 20:e13249
Abstract: AIM: Relative risks and odds ratios are widely reported in the medical literature, but the latter can be very difficult to understand. We sought to further clarify these important indices. METHODS: We defined both relative risks and odds ratios, then looked at the types of study for which each statistic is suited. We illustrated calculation of relative risks and odds ratios through analysis of tabled data from a recent published longitudinal study, using a 2x2 table, bar charts and R, the open source statistical programming language. Simple rules for when and how to use relative risks and odds ratios are presented. CONCLUSION: Understanding the difference between relative risks and odds ratios and when and how to use them may aid clinical interpretation, dissemination and translation of research findings.
DOI: 10.1111/eci.13249
PubMed URL:
ISSN: 1365-2362
Journal Title: European Journal of Clinical Investigation
Type: Journal Article
Affiliated Organisations: Department of Statistics, Data Science and Epidemiology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Appears in Collections:Pre-Clinical

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