Abstract Apart from explaining the importance of epidemiology in our society and in communities today, this paper would also include how it has evolved and improved during the past years. This research would be in detail with a couple of doctors, epidemiologists, and scientists, who have left a mark on history and have made such big contributions. Epidemiology, for example, in the field of medicine has mainly supported much of its ideas and information. Another point we are going to ponder is the world’s top research facilities for epidemiology and how it is benefitting everyone.
Discoveries lead scientists to make new discoveries and accomplishments. Discoveries are not necessarily supposed to have good impacts. In fact, some discoveries have caused people to develop bad characteristics such as being greedy, materialistic, and vain. However, looking at the big picture, the field of epidemiology has helped us in the most significant ways. Without epidemiologists, we would never know the importance of cleanliness and all of us should have been bankrupt because of the urgency of long hospital stays. Epidemiology is Important and has an Impact on the Community and the Society.
During the recent years of the sophisticated human civilization, our medical sciences have improved in many aspects. One particular aspect that will be addressed would be the study of epidemiology and all the general information related to that. What is epidemiology? It’s quite a big word with an interesting meaning. Epidemiology is the study of how infectious diseases spread among the human population. This is just one specific topic that has been narrowed. It also studies the factors of disease creation, or spreading, and many other things related to harmful pathogens (harmful substances) as well as the public health.
Swine flu is one example of disease which is studied in the field of epidemiology. Information such as, where does swine flu come from and what living conditions it can withstand are important to prevent the spread of this disease. In this essay the following questions pertained to epidemiology will be addressed: how has epidemiology contributed to the field of medicine, what role does epidemiology play in the society, who were the most famous doctors and scientists that contributed to research and how has their ideas affect society today, where are the largest research facilities in the world and what advances have they made.
Epidemiology is quite favoured since it reduces the spread of deadly diseases. It informs the citizens on what type of harm it can cause them. Years back, many people have died due to the lack of knowledge about epidemiology, but as we advance forward in our civilization, we create new things to nourish the field of epidemiology such as: vaccines, antibiotics, nanotechnology and the study of the human genome. Vaccines are quite effective in our modern world. The process of the vaccine is to insert a small dose of the certain virus, or another type of pathogen, to build up defences for one’s immunity.
An antibiotic is a powerful, effective medicine but under certain conditions only. Armies in the world have one type of weapon or strategy which must be used once or twice to win. The same applies to the medicine of antibiotics. Every time the “army” uses their special weapon or strategy, the opposing force will eventually learn how to fight off that line of attack and regain control. Likewise, an antibiotic becomes useless after overuse. Nanotechnology has been implementing in small branches of medical science, yet it still has to develop.
One application of its applications is the nuclear checking pills which is inserted to the mouth until a small camera hits the stomach and checks for any harmful effects. The Human Genome Project has been helpful in determining what genes are harmed in the genome and how to fix these particular diseases. Generally, epidemiology has much more discoveries to offer. Now we start to our next subtopic about the wonderful study of epidemiology. What are the Contributions of Epidemiology to the Field of Medicine? Epidemiology is the study of diseases is beneficial for medicine as well.
Studying diseases and their nature helps scientists to find cure as they both learn more about what a certain virus, bacteria, fungi, or spore needs to mature and breed, and how does it affect the host. To explain further, as Richard Tames’ book (Point of Impact) tells us: Smallpox is caused by a virus a microorganism that spreads in drops of moisture from an infected person’s nose or mouth. Aches and high fever are followed by a rash of sores that fill with pus from scab, and leave scars. Four out of five sufferers survive, though they may be scared and sometimes blinded.
(10) Later Tames concluded that this has helped him accomplish with finding the right vaccine to cure smallpox. (Tames, 2003) Epidemiology is one of the main reasons why we have vaccines today. A live organism cannot be used as a vaccine since it would induce the very disease it should prevent. Therefore, the first step in making a vaccine is to separate the two effects of disease- causing organisms. Another way to produce a vaccine is to using the antigenic part of the disease causing organism only. For example; the capsule flagella, or the part of the protein cell-wall, these types of vaccines are called “a-cellular vaccines.
” An example of an A-cellular vaccine is the haemophilic influenza B (HIB) vaccine (Bonnie & Pamela). It is hard to cure people by only studying epidemiology. Although epidemiology has made big contributions, diseases like swine flu and cancer have no cure yet. In truth, epidemiology still needs to be advanced even today. What are the Effects of Epidemiology on the Society? Each of us has had an illness or a disease. It may have been death-threatening, or just a simple airborne-disease that we take for granted since it will just “come and go”.
Perhaps, we had to be kept in a room, away from playmates, or had to miss classes, a birthday party or an out-of-town trip. The advances in medicine have benefited all of us over the years. Inventions and discoveries now keep us free form many illnesses which used to kill people young and old. How were we able to survive from all that sniffs and coughs, and those itches and sneezes? The answer is epidemiology, the study of how diseases spread. Epidemiologists continue to develop new treatments, medicines and other technologies in the fight against epidemics in every part of the world.
During the 1860s, French scientist Louis Pasteur studied about disease-causing bacteria. (Woods, 2006) His discovery has lead to many innovations and added up to the people’s awareness as well. Pasteur was forced to study about bacteria after realizing the unstoppable rapid increase of the death rate. Later on, after constructing the germ theory of disease, health care workers became stricter with their procedures. After, scientists started to take precautions and practice good hygiene. They made sure they have sterilized all the surgical tools and equipments first before any operation was done.
Other than washing their hands thoroughly, it was necessary for health-care professionals to wear rubber gloves, masks, and the proper attire. Therefore, the usual case of newly-operated patients dying because of infections had its own end. (Woods, 2006) It was said that the era of 1900s was mainly how cleanliness improved. People, for example, had sinks and toilets installed in their houses. (Woods, 2006) Factories produce different types of antiseptics or disinfectants and other more products that help us maintain cleanliness.
Talking about the modern world, all of us are familiar with brands like Safeguard, Dettol, Lifebuoy and Greencross. These are all products related to alcohol, hand sanitizers, and soap. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of the very first antibiotic: penicillin has saved millions of people coming from different areas. He was said to be from Scotland. (Woods, 2006) `it was, more or less, one-third of America’s population who died from pneumonia. But thanks to the brilliant discovery of Fleming, much of the patients suffering from this disease now in this era, were able to recover.
Not only that, penicillin also has saved people’s lives during the World War II. The History of Medicine (Antibiotics, 2006, p. 21) concludes: Doctors called it a magic bullet because it cured serious illnesses without causing major side effects, unless a person was allergic to it. This statement explains the big role penicillin played during that time, as a life-saver. To consider the fact that hospital stays are actually expensive, it also saved money for people. People nowadays can just stay home and take their medications by themselves.
Unlike before, they had to spend days, weeks, and even months to be able to fully recover. Fleming doesn’t know how big he has contributed to our world revolving around the idea of epidemiology. After his discovery of penicillin, scientists started to consider collecting and checking other soil samples. Hopefully, in 1943, Selman Walkman has created another medicine from dirt. He discovered streptomycin, an antibiotic which was the first treatment for tuberculosis. (Woods, M. , M. B. , 2006) Furthermore, botulism adds up to our knowledge about epidemiology. It was first recorded in 1793 and particularly in the region of Alaska.
Patients with this disease may suffer from paralyzed arms, legs, respiratory muscles, and in some exceptional conditions, may be life-threatening. After fifty years, studies show the improvements to its treatments. The rate of patients with botulism have led to a fall from around fifty percent to eight percent. (Moore, 2007)Above all, the actual impact of the botulism story is in the fashion industry. To many Hollywood celebrities, the term “Botox” is well-known. It is a process of paralyzing the muscles in the face and to iron out those irritating creased lines on foreheads.
People nowadays are just way too busy attending to their personal crisis that the saddening idea of people suffering from hunger was then forgotten. (Moore, 2007) The term “epidemiology” may sound so good to hear since it reminds us of words such as healing, cure, operations, vaccine, and other more. It may have helped other people to be aware of the real world, surrounded with different types of pathogens, that is, or it may have helped death rates to decrease. In this case however, living in a world with opposite forces, epidemiology also has its own disadvantages.
Salmonella, for example, is a food-borne disease which can be caused by eating any kind of undercooked food. One of its symptoms to an infected patient may be in the form of diarrhoea. Moreover being in the political industry, desperate needs call for desperate measures. You need to have smart, clever tactics in order to defeat your opponent. Year 1984 in Oregon, a religious sect wanted to try influencing the election. Part of their plan was to sprinkle salmonella-laden water over the food sold by ten of the local town’s restaurants. A number of seven hundred people became ill, as a result.
Granted that, they signed up the homeless people they brought along to vote. (Moore, 2007) Similarly with the West Nile Virus which is an animal-borne disease caused by mosquitoes. It was first recorded year 1937 and symptoms may include body aches, fever and headaches. The severity of its symptoms may vary from person to person. Yet, it may also cause permanent brain damage. The main historic outbreak of this disease was during the late summer near the area of New York. Theorists concluded that it is possible that this disease may have been introduced by a terror organization. (Moore, 2007).
Most Famous Doctors and Scientists and the Effects of Their Ideas to the Society As you know epidemiology is the study of the cause and spread of diseases and there are a lot of people, doctors, and scientists that have made great investigations in the history of epidemiology. They have all influenced the history in one way or another. They all have done their part to make the future generation healthier and safer from diseases. Some people have helped by finding cures for various and dangerous diseased that could have caused harm. Others have found out how some diseases are spread.
There are a lot of people in the history of epidemiology that have helped in many ways with their amazing discoveries. There were a lot of doctors and scientists that has helped in the field of epidemiology like Hippocrates, John Snow and Avicenna. Their discoveries have led to a greater future. Hippocrates is one of the amazing people. He is known as the “father of time” for his work. He was a Greek physician born in 460 BC. He was the first person to examine the relationship between the occurrence of diseases and environmental influences. (Francis, 1891) He based his medical work on observations and on the study of the human body.
He believed in the natural healing process. This involved proper rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. He was also the first physician that held the belief that thoughts, ideas, and feelings come from the brain and not to the heart as others of his time believed. (Asimov, 1982) His research led to the idea that diseases had some relationship with our surroundings. Hippocrates also made an oath that now every physician must take.
He died in 377 BC (Collier, 1910). Another one of those famous doctors or people that influenced epidemiology history was Avicenna. He was also a physician, a Persian physician. “He was born around 980 in Afshana. Avicenna was one of the other physicians in medieval Islamic world that discovered the contagiousness of infectious diseases. He wrote famous books in medical areas like “The Canon of Medicine”. He also discovered the contagious nature of tuberculosis and of the sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, Avicenna learned about the distribution of disease through water and soil.
(Sarton, 1997). He also used the method of risk factor analysis, and proposed the idea of a syndrome in the diagnosis of specific diseases. If Avicenna was not able to discover how dangerous tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were, it would have been difficult for the future generation. Last but not the least, another famous person who contributed in the history of epidemiology is John Snow. John Snow was born on 15th of March 1813 in York, England. The book Vinten included: He was famous for his investigation in to the cause of the 19th century Cholera epidemics.
He began with noticing the significantly higher death rates in two areas supplied by Southwark Company. His identification of the Broad Street pump as the cause of the Soho epidemic is considered the classic example of epidemiology. He used chlorine in an attempt to clean the water and had the handle removed, thus ending the outbreak” (Johansen & Paneth, 2003) John’s research led to different ways to deal with this disease for when it might come back. This way it would be easier to deal with the disease. Doctors and scientists have worked hard to make it safer to live with the least amount of illness for the future generation.
If they didn’t do their research, certain life-threatening diseases would not have a cure right now. This would lead to endangering people’s life, which could cause a lot of deaths. Because of epidemiologists, lives have been saved and people lived a better, healthier, and safer life from diseases. People have fewer chances of getting diseases now, and a lot of new cures and being made. “But it would be better if more cures could be found for things like cancer which have caused half a million deaths”. If more cures are found then fewer and fewer people will die every year. (Society, 2007)
World’s Largest Research Facilities According to research there are three major campuses, schools and research centers that are qualified and also have the largest research facility equipment in the world that study the latest topics and diseases. The first school is the Hygiene and Tropical Medicine School in Bloomsburg, London. The second research center is Cancer Council in Queensdale, Australia. The last research center which also is a hospital is Hospital of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was confirmed as the world’s leading center for research.
It has been ranked as one of the top three research institutions in UK in all three areas which are: the study of infection and immunology, epidemiology and public health, and health services research. 65% to 85% of their research was successful and internationally excellent. Their department of epidemiology and population health has expertise in clinical trials, analysis of routinely collected statistics and indirect techniques for measuring mortality and global health. They are also studying the spectrum of disease such as HIV/AIDS and other diseases which are transmitted in many different ways (htt).
The Cancer Council in Queensdale is an independent anti-cancer institution which was not funded or established by the Australian government. This council aims to eliminate cancer and the suffering by finding advanced cancer research; improving cancer treatment; supporting people with cancer; increasing the community’s awareness of cancer, and ways on preventing cancer as well to be able detect it early. They study it in an epidemic manner to be able to prevent it by understanding how it is transmitted. The cancer council in Queensdale was established in 1961 (htt1).
Epidemiology still needs to be advanced even today. Certainly it is just alarming to hear such case that diseases may be used as a weapon, as easy as that, by terrorists. How devastating it is to learn that Epidemiology can risk a lot of people’s lives from danger. Is Epidemiology really helping nature and humanity? Or is it a heartless, harmful, ugly monster hiding its hidden identity in a charming mask? Just like an antagonist struggling with a princess in a little girl’s fairytale book. The answer may be yes or a no, but epidemiology is a field that we have to focus on.
The world is evolving and changing, and sooner or later, new types of diseases will be spreading. There are still some diseases with no cure yet. This is an important issue as sooner or later, it becomes a potential threat to civilization, preventing many communities from developing. No doubt Epidemiology has been part of every one’s lives and it has helped the field of medicine greatly. However, discoveries are still not enough and a lot of people are suffering from unidentified illnesses yet. Specifically, the hot topic: swine flu.
Further research and experiments could, perhaps, make a big difference with our current status now as a new era begins.
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