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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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Epidemiology and Relative Risk

One of the great heroes in the history of cancer research and public health is the little-known English physician Janet Lane-Claypon. In the first quarter of the 1900s, having become one of the first women to receive both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, she carried out a remarkable series of studies that went a long way toward founding the field of epidemiology. One of these demonstrated the nutritional superiority of human breast milk over cow’s milk and led to her being commissioned by the British Ministry of Health to conduct the first large case-control study on the causation of cancer.

After surveying 500 cancer patients and 500 matched cancer-free women she was able to conclude, presciently, that such factors as ...

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