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Epidemiologic methods developments: a look forward to the year 2032.

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Ann Epidemiol. 2007 Nov 17 (11).

This article responds to a request by the Editors for a perspective on potential epidemiologic methods developments between now and the year 2032 when the American College of Epidemiology will have its 50th Annual Meeting. The response begins by describing the need for enhanced methods in epidemiologic research and goes on to suggest some approaches to satisfying such needs. The suggested approaches include the more extensive use of biomarkers for exposure assessment, the greater standardization of data analysis and reporting methods, and enhancement of the interplay between observational studies and randomized controlled trials. It is argued that a phased approach to epidemiologic hypothesis evaluation may often be needed, with hypotheses that are promising in observational studies subjected to controlled trials having well-selected intermediate outcomes. It is also argued that a multidisciplinary, coordinated community of scientists interested in disease risk estimation and disease prevention will be needed for epidemiologic research to fulfill its potential over the next 25 years.