The future of Epidemiology

I want to mention at the beginning of my essay a good definition of Epidemiology given by Major Greenwood in the first textbook of epidemiology, named "Epidemics and Crowd-Diseases"(1935): "the study of disease, any disease, as a mass phenomenon […] it forms a general pictures, an average of what is happening".

Another very interesting definition, this time for eco-epidemiology, made by Sussers is: the study of "causal pathways at the societal level and with pathogenesis and causality at the molecular level". By the way, in my opinion, the future of all medical sciences is to solve the problem working with the root (the molecular and genetic level), because only in this way can be prevented and eradicated most of the epidemic diseases, such as: AIDS, cancer etc.

For the near future, I see epidemiology working together with genetics, nanotechnology and computer science, by offering to these last three the general effects (at societal level) of what happening at molecular level in order to improve the way people assure their health.

About the future of epidemiology, I agree with the opinion of Warren Winkelstein from his article named "Eras, Paradigms, and the Future of Epidemiology" where he says: "Certainly times are a-changing, and there is a need to incorporate innovative approaches to the study of health and disease in populations […] Molecular biology will certainly augment the epidemiologist’s capability to study disease causation, and modern computer based information transfer technology will extend the ability to access and process large bodies of data,…". According to his article it is very possible that the present era of epidemiology to be changed, because "the focus on risk factors at the individual level – the hall mark of this era – will no longer serve. We need to be concerned equally with causal pathways at the social level and with pathogenesis and causality at the molecular level".

A good example to sustain my opinion, presented until now, can be the result: "the methods of recombinant DNA have led to recognition of both viral and genetic components in insulin-dependent diabetes".

I think that the best way to finish my essay is to give the quotation which closes the article: "Epidemiology has become a set of generic methods for measuring associations of exposure and disease in individuals, rather than functioning as part of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the causation of disease in populations. […] We seem to be using more and more advanced technology to study more and more trivial issues, while the major population causes of diseases are ignored. Epidemiology must reintegrate itself into public health, and must rediscover the population perspective."


Copyright © Mihail Vrapcea