Week 1 lecture notes.docx - what is epidemiology the study...

This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 11 pages.

what is epidemiology? the study of the distribution and determinants of disease frequency in human populations and the application of this study to control health problems. distribution, determinants, disease frequency, and application. Epidemiology, by design, is concerned with all three of these Disease frequency. the measurement of rates. it's the ability of epidemiology to identify numerators-- to count cases, to look at records, look at sources of information to try and estimate the number of cases in a human population. Disease distribution. Who is affected? Where do they live? When were they affected? Where do they travel? it's the descriptive part of disease. the risk factors or determinants for disease in population. what factors influence disease distribution, disease frequency, in populations? What are the risk factors that do this? What characteristics of populations that occur that lead to greater risks of certain diseases? the role of epidemiology in public health - our patient is the population. It's the village. It's the community. It's the country. we look at groups, not individuals, and look at group dynamics in terms of disease and disease dynamics. Again, our primary concern is with populations - the basic science of public health or a population science. Compare this with the individual patient, which is the primary focus of the clinician in medicine. In terms of basic science, the pathologist is concerned more with individual tissues or organ systems. And in case of the molecular biologist or cell biologist, whose concern primarily is at the cellular level. Multidisciplinary we rely upon expertise in many other fields to assist us in our research. Fields such as biomedical sciences, clinical medicine, pathology, immunology, microbiology, virology; the social scientists, especially in terms of behavioral sciences-- so anthropologists, sociologists, economists; and finally, the quantitative sciences. demographers, geographers, and statisticians all contribute very importantly to the field of epidemiology. the disease process is not a random process - through systematic investigation, we can determine some of these factors that result in increased risk of disease. If disease was truly a random process, you couldn't prevent it. You wouldn't have effective control measures. You wouldn't have effective interventions, because for the most part, you cannot prevent random events because they occur, by definition, at random. epidemiology is the ability to make comparisons-- comparing population A to population B. These comparisons are important in determining why certain populations have higher rates of disease than others. Looking or determining causal factors in epidemiology; determining why certain diseases and what their causal factors are in populations.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture