April 08, 2011
This question was posed by a reader in response to my previous blog post about the anticonvulsant medication valproic acid and drug-induced liver injury that occurs in a modest percentage of patients where the risk disproportionately involves individuals with a particular gene polymorphism.Measuring or predicting risk for an individual vs. measuring or predicting risk for populations is an important distinction to make. Epidemiologists call applying a population result to a person the "atomistic fallacy." The converse (applying risk that is known for an individual or for a small group to a larger population that is different from the individual or small group) is called the "ecological fallacy."
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