The Epidemiology . It is a basic science in the field of Public Health that has reached important development. In Cuba it is defined as a branch of medical science whose work methodology allows the investigation and knowledge of the objective causes and conditions of any health problem that affects human groups, as well as the proposal of adequate solutions.
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- 1 Origin
- 2 Object of study
- 3 Purpose
- 4 Principles
- 5 Classification
- 6 The first epidemiological study
- 7 Source
- 8 References
Epidemiology emerged from the study of epidemics of diseases infectious; that’s where the name comes from. Already in the 20th century, epidemiological studies were extended to diseases and health problems in general, analyzed by various methods, among which those of demography and statistics are especially important.
The object of study is the medical problems (health – disease) related to the population], that is, as a mass phenomenon.
Describe the magnitude and distribution of health problems in human populations. Obtain information that can be combined with that from other disciplines, such as genetics , biochemistry , microbiology and others, to identify etiological factors.
To determine the facts that give consistency to the hypotheses developed, both in the clinic and in social practice, in the field experience or in laboratory experiments. Offering the fundamental information for the planning, organization, direction and control of the services in charge of the prevention, control and eradication of diseases, disabilities and death, as well as establishing priorities regarding health problems .
Epidemiological studies must be carried out in the environment where man develops and cannot be separated from him. The population from which data is collected should be clearly defined. With epidemiology, quantitative and qualitative relationships or associations are established between two or more phenomena, one of which is generally a disease or other health-related problem and the others are possible causative factors that exist in the environment. (see Epidemiological chain )
- General epidemiology.
- Special epidemiology.
General epidemiology : is the branch of epidemiology that deals with the most general principles of this science; methodological questions about the epidemiological method; statistical procedures and techniques aimed at understanding the problem and its analysis and interpretation; the procedures and techniques for the control, prevention and eradication of any health problem independent of its etiology.
Special epidemiology : is the branch of epidemiology that specifically studies groups of diseases, attending to common characteristics, generally according to their transmission mechanism. It also includes the study of very specific diseases and problems according to their importance for the health of the community; for example.
The first epidemiological study
The first relevant epidemiological study was carried out in 1849 by the English physician John Snow. This researcher observed that the cholera epidemic that took place in London , particularly affected the regions of the city served by the Broad Street water pump. The epidemic began its regression when that pump closed. Modern epidemiology estimates the influence of different factors: age (mortality increases in the elderly in the case of influenza epidemics, due to his previous respiratory disturbances); sex (higher incidence of heart attacks in males); or socioeconomic factors (in the population without economic resources, and especially the homeless in large cities).