By Royal College of Physicians, British Thyroid Association

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Descriptive studies may i deal with individuals (case reports or case-series reports) or i establish prevalence in a population or i provide surveillance. Ecological studies describe associations between incidence or mortality of a disease (eg lung cancer) and an exposure (eg cigarette sales) across different populations (often different countries). Observational studies with a comparison group are termed analytical: i in a cross-sectional study a snapshot is taken at one time point i in a cohort study a group of people, of whom some are known to have an exposure and others are known not to, are followed prospectively; the cohort may be identified at the present time or retrospectively from records.

2 Personal data shall be obtained for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. 3 Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are processed. 4 Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. 5 Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

2 Personal data shall be obtained for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. 3 Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are processed. 4 Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. 5 Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

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