Sunday, September 21, 2008

Epidemiology Theories - Pre-Hopkins

Theories I have one month into my Hopkins education:

1. Life expectancy in the US will decrease in the near future
-too many w/o health insurance
-expectancy (~80) all ready close to human max (~100)
-America going down the drain (stupid wars, huge debt, not funding/encouraging science)
-obesity epidemic

2. Environment is a much greater factor than Genes
-Genome Wide Association studies have shown little
-BRAC1/2 an exception, but possibly no others quite like it
-Personal genetics companies like 23 and me will lead to over analyzing of genes
-However genes play a part in basically every disease (average approx 25 percent per disease?)

3. In terms of health disparities Social Economic Status (SES) is a much greater factor than race
-Race over analyzed - possible since it's easy to measure?
-SES underdeveloped, needs a less arbitrary definition (make a uniform one?)
-However separation of groups and evolution gives more reason for race

4. Future in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and Biomarker studies
-GIS used by gov't to identify disease clusters and disparities
-Biomarkers help reduce bias, identify diseases and potential diseases at earlier stages

5. Measures will be found to greatly reduce bias
-A well done small study (w/ biomarkers) is greater than a huge sample with surveys.
-find other ways to evaluate disease without relying on human memories.
-technology will greatly help in this area - measuring risk factor/food intake via cell phones, etc

6. Obesity will not be the next smoking in this generation
-people too lazy to exercise (much harder than quitting smoking?)
-does not have the obvious ability to harm others like smoking (2nd hand)
-very difficult to turn food into something "evil" (like cigarettes)

7. Poor health education (stubbornish?) is public health biggest enemy
-public over interprets studies - we should ignore unless it increases Risk by 300 percent. Current example: BPA (poor done study showed 2x increase in heart disease, Nalgene removes it from bottles - even though FDA and well done studies are on other side).
-ignoring studies - alarming increase in vaccine distrust (people need to see a disease to be afraid?)
-huge health disparities between education classes

We'll see how my Hopkins education alters my views....

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