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Epidemiology

Posted on:3/24/2006
Epidemiology is the scientific study of factors affecting the health and illness of individuals and populations, and serves as the foundation and logic of interventions made in the interest of public health and preventive medicine.



Epidemiology is the scientific study of factors affecting the health and illness of individuals and populations, and serves as the foundation and logic of interventions made in the interest of public health and preventive medicine. It is considered a cornerstone methodology of public health research, and is highly regarded in evidence-based medicine for identifying risk factors for disease and determining optimal treatment approaches to clinical practice.

The acting epidemiologist works on issues ranging from the practical, such as outbreak investigation, environmental exposure, and health promotion, to the theoretical, including the development of statistical, mathematical, philosophical, and biological theory. To this end, epidemiologists employ a range of study designs from the observational to experimental, with the purpose of revealing unbiased relationships between exposures such as nutrition, HIV, stress, or chemicals to outcomes such as disease, wellness and health indicators.

Epidemiologic studies are generally categorized as descriptive, analytic (aiming to examine associations, commonly hypothesized causal relationships), and experimental (a term often equated with clinical or community trials of treatments and other interventions).

Epidemiologists work in a variety of settings. Some epidemiologists work 'in the field', i.e., in the community, commonly in a public health service, and are often at the forefront of investigating and combating disease outbreaks.

The term 'epidemiologic triangle' is used to describe the intersection of Host, Agent, and Environment in analyzing an outbreak.


 


  
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