Discussion: Genetics and Epidemiology

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Discussion: Genetics and Epidemiology

Discussion: Genetics and Epidemiology

Discussion: Genetics and Epidemiology

Week 6 discussion Discussion Part One Genetics and Epidemiology Pick one friend or family member and gather their family health history. Pick one possible genetic risk for disease in that person and provide the following: Gender, age Genetic risk for a specific disease Define the disease Evidence to link risk to development Identify if genetics is confounded or linked to any other epidemiological risk factors for disease development that might be modified in this patient. Discussion Part Two Discuss screening tools that might be an option for this person and why or why you would not recommend them at this time. Remember to provide evidence to support your answer. Discussion Part Three Please provide a summary of the case or information you have discussed this week. Week 7 discussion

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The use of the term Genetic epidemiology emerged in the mid 1980s as a new scientific field.

In formal language, genetic epidemiology was defined by Newton Morton, one of the pioneers of the field, as “a science which deals with the etiology, distribution, and control of disease in groups of relatives and with inherited causes of disease in populations”.[2] It is closely allied to both molecular epidemiology and statistical genetics, but these overlapping fields each have distinct emphases, societies and journals.[1]

One definition of the field closely follows that of behavior genetics, defining genetic epidemiology as “the scientific discipline that deals with the analysis of the familial distribution of traits, with a view to understanding any possible genetic basis”, and that “seeks to understand both the genetic and environmental factors and how they interact to produce various diseases and traits in humans”.[3] The BMJ adopts a similar definition, “Genetic epidemiology is the study of the aetiology, distribution, and control of disease in groups of relatives and of inherited causes of disease in populations.”[4]

As early as the 4th century BC, Hippocrates suggested in his essay “On Airs, Waters, and Places” that factors such as behavior and environment may play a role in disease. Epidemiology entered a more systematic phase with the work of John Graunt, who in 1662 tried to quantify mortality in London using a statistical approach, tabulating various factors he thought played a role in mortality rates. John Snow is considered to be the father of epidemiology, and was the first to use statistics to discover and target the cause of disease, specifically of cholera outbreaks in 1854 in London. He investigated the cases of cholera and plotted them onto a map identifying the most likely cause of cholera, which was shown to be contaminated water wells.

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