History of Epidemiology and Health Statistics

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22 Questions

Who is considered the first epidemiologist?


Who quantified births, deaths, and diseases, and is considered the first demographer?

John Graunt

Who was the first to suggest that scurvy (lack of vitamin C) could be treated with fresh fruit?


Who provided vital statistics for the evaluation of health problems and is known as the founder of modern epidemiological surveillance?

William Farr

Who tested a hypothesis on the origin of an epidemic of cholera and created the first model of epidemiological investigation based on working hypothesis and comparing groups?

John Snow

Who is considered the father of evidence-based medicine and invented numerical thinking method?

Alexander Louis

Who suggested criteria for establishing causation, emphasizing the relation between cause and effect or regularly correlated events or phenomena?

Bradford Hill

Who was the first doctor to describe diseases without attributing them to magical causes?


Who conducted the first clinical trial as a marine Scottish doctor?


Who drew a map of London to find the source of water and cholera during an epidemic?

John Snow

What is the primary concern with using the observation of a baby crying and then being held or fed as a basis for scientific theories?

It is considered primitive and insufficient for scientific theories

What can influence the results of epidemiological studies, leading to false associations?

Chance or random error

What is systematic error in epidemiological studies known as?


What did Hill suggest to help determine if a causal relationship exists between two factors?

Hill criteria

What does descriptive epidemiology focus on in understanding the distribution of diseases in a population?

Person, time, and place

Why is the concept of population crucial in epidemiology?

It allows for generalizations and analysis of disease patterns

What is the main focus of descriptive epidemiology?

Estimating disease distribution in terms of person, time, and place

What does prevalence measure in epidemiological variables?

Total number of individuals with a disease divided by the population at risk

What is the definition of incidence time in descriptive epidemiology?

Time span from zero time to the time at which the outcome event occurs

What is the main focus of analytical epidemiology?

Inferring causal relationships between risk factors and outcomes

Which Hill's Causal Criteria is identified as a necessary condition for determining causality?


What does incidence measure in epidemiological variables?

Number of new cases or risk of disease

Study Notes

  • The observation of a baby crying and then being held or fed is not a sufficient basis for scientific theories due to its primitiveness.
  • When studying the relationship between a risk factor and a disease, there are various sources of error to consider.
  • Chance or random error can influence the results of epidemiological studies, leading to false associations.
  • Bias, which is systematic error, can also impact the study results, skewing the association in a consistent direction.
  • Confounding is another potential explanation for the observed association, as the exposition causing event may be linked to both the disease and the risk factor.
  • The absence of an association between a risk factor and a disease does not necessarily mean that there is no causal relationship.
  • Hill suggested several considerations, known as Hill criteria, to help determine if a causal relationship exists between two factors.
  • Descriptive epidemiology focuses on understanding the distribution and pattern of diseases in a population by considering person, time, and place.
  • The concept of population is crucial in epidemiology, as public health policy depends on large groups of people.
  • Populations can be stable (cohort) or dynamic, with the latter including new individuals and constant exits.
  • Epidemiological variables can be used to measure and analyze the distribution of diseases and their determinants in a population.
  • Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a disease in a population during a specified period, while prevalence is the total number of cases at a given time.
  • The prevalence of a disease is influenced by both the incidence and the duration of the disease.
  • Descriptive epidemiology is essential for understanding the distribution of diseases and developing public health policies.

Test your knowledge of the pioneers in epidemiology and health statistics, including Hippocrates, John Graunt, Lind, and William Farr. Learn about their contributions to understanding the influence of the environment on human health, quantifying births, deaths, and diseases, and vital statistics for evaluating health problems.

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