Epidemiology, as we know is the study of the distribution and determinants of frequency of various diseases. Epidemiology has gained great importance in the last 2 centuries because it helped in fighting and controlling many diseases. Today, epidemiology is an important study in public health and much of public health depends on the studies conducted by epidemiology.
Epidemiology has its roots connected with public health and with the governments in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries giving more and more importance to public health and sanitation, the study of epidemiology became an essential part and hence, epidemiology evolved into a different subject altogether.
Although during its infancy, epidemiology was used as a method to reduce the incidence of contagious diseases and infections, as years passed, the scope of epidemiology grew from infectious and contagious diseases to the study of other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiology, effect of environment on health, aging, genetics and statistics, etc and many more.
The primary areas of research in epidemiology include areas such as
Cancer Epidemiology: Cancer epidemiology studies the occurrence of cancer in the population. The study is used understand more about the development of cancer in people and to develop methods for early identification of cancers and preventive measures that can be taken and also to study the past and current trends in cancer.
Diabetes Epidemiology: Epidemiological study of diabetes is another area of interest which is significantly important. This study is important because, diabetes, particularly type II diabetes is on the rise globally. Every year hundreds of thousands of people are being diagnosed of this disease. As a life style disease, various aspects of this disease need to be studied.
Cardiovascular Epidemiology: Cardiovascular is another area of interest in epidemiology. Just like diabetes, the number of people suffering from the risk of cardiovascular disease is increasing every year on a global scale. Cardiovascular epidemiology studies the incidence of this disease, early detection and in many cases early prevention of this disease among population.
Environmental Epidemiology: Environmental Epidemiology studies the effect of environment on large scale population. Areas of interest can range from pollutants in air, water and land, food contamination, water contamination, lead pollution, mercury pollution, etc and much more. The studies can help identify potential risks and the way around this problem.
Infectious Diseases Epidemiology: Infectious diseases epidemiology studies the occurrence of infectious diseases among population. These studies focus on how particular disease originates and is spreading among population, the measures that need to be taken and can also involve testing vaccines for such diseases.
Genetic Epidemiology: Genetic Epidemiology is a broad discipline which involves studying various aspects of genetics among population. Genetic epidemiology combines various subjects such as statistics, human genetics, public health genomics, etc to study the role of genetics in human genome. Broad areas of interest are covered under this head.
Aging Epidemiology: Aging, as we know is not just about how good a person looks, but how good a person’s health is. Aging epidemiology studies various aspects of aging including dementia, degenerative eye diseases, loss of hearing, cardiovascular disease, age related neural systems alterations, motor disorders of aging, development of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, etc are some of the areas of interest in aging epidemiology.
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