Publication: Types of observational studies in medical research

A review article contributed to the special series on “Research Methodology” in Astrocyte.


Study design forms a core component of research, mainly determined by the study objectives, and it in turn further decides the type of statistical analyses to be carried out. Observational studies are devoid of the investigator’s control over assignment of a subject to the treated or control group, in contrast to interventional studies Even though randomized controlled trials are seen as the best study design, evidence shows that properly conducted observational studies give similar results, and is relevant in medical research where ethics and feasibility concerns assume great significance. Observational studies point out towards possible causal associations, are less resource intensive than trials and have a better external validity. This review article discusses various types of observational study designs such as case reports, cross sectional, cohort, case-control and nested case-control studies with real literature examples.

Keywords: Case control, case series, cohort, ecologic, nested case control, observational study


Publication: Melodies and Maladies: Reflections on Shakespeare and his Portrayal of Disease and Death

This short article was published in RHiME (Research and Humanities in Medical Education), which is the flagship journal of the University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and is run by the Medical Humanities Group and Medical Education Unit. I wrote this article in honour of William Shakespeare’s 450th birth anniversary in 2014.

Chatterjee P., Seth B.Melodies and maladies: reflections on Shakespeare and his portrayal of disease and death.RHiME [serial online] 2014[cited 2014 Jul 6];1:. Available here.


Shakespeare has long been acknowledged to be a pioneer in understanding the functions and dysfunctions of the human mind. However, very little discussion has centered on his knowledge of the physical science of medicine. In this article the authors reflect on Shakespeare’s portrayal of diseases and death in his work and conclude that he had significant knowledge of the contemporary medical sciences.

Keywords: Humanities, Literature, William Shakespeare

Learning Points:

The reviewer was a keen student of the Bard’s work and wanted us to focus on his depiction of the various fluids and their impact on health or disease as portrayed in his work; and of course, the vagaries of the mental faculties of man, one of the most widely used dramatic elements.


Dr. Bhavna Seth, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi. Dr. Seth helped search the Bard’s work for medical references and in the drafting of the article as well.