Descriptive Epidemiology Incidence Prevalence

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This photo shows a nurse taking a woman’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The nurse is pumping the cuff with her right hand and holding a stethoscope on the patient’s arm with her left hand.
A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (credit: Bryan Mason/flickr)

Chapter objectives

After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
  • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex, in terms of the six levels of organization
  • Identify the functional characteristics of human life
  • Identify the four requirements for human survival
  • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body
  • Compare and contrast at least four medical imagining techniques in terms of their function and use in medicine

Though you may approach a course in anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in this course will serve you well in many aspects of your life. An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also benefit your own health. Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

This chapter begins with an overview of anatomy and physiology and a preview of the body regions and functions. It then covers the characteristics of life and how the body works to maintain stable conditions. It introduces a set of standard terms for body structures and for planes and positions in the body that will serve as a foundation for more comprehensive information covered later in the text. It ends with examples of medical imaging used to see inside the living body.

We will teach you how to read and critique medical journal articles using examples from some of the most widely-read medical journals. To critique the medical literature you will need to understand the fundamentals of epidemiologic study design, the sources of bias, and the role of chance. Every discipline has its own jargon. we will cover the terminology used in clinical research, including the basic statistical jargon. The most important concepts are in the lectures and small groups provide you with an opportunity to apply what you have learned from the lecture material to actual medical journal articles.

As future physicians you have an obligation to remain current in your field of practice and to treat patients according to generally accepted standards of care.

To do this well you will need to read the medical journals that are considered the most important sources of new information in your field of medicine.

Quiz PDF eBook: 
Descriptive Epidemiology Incidence Prevalence
Download Epidemiology Lecture #1 Quiz PDF eBook
10 Pages
2014
English US
Educational Materials



Sample Questions from the Descriptive Epidemiology Incidence Prevalence Quiz

Question: Influenza is spread by close contact between an infected person and an uninfected person who has not had the infection and therefore is “at risk”. There are 10 students living on your dorm floor, which is the second floor of the building. One of the students has returned on Sunday evening, October 3rd from a weekend away attending a friend’s wedding. On the morning of Tuesday, October 5th he shows all the typical symptoms of influenza including a mild fever and sore throat. By the end of the following Sunday, October 10th four other students on the floor are showing identical symptoms of influenza. What is the cumulative incidence rate for influenza for the period October 1 through October 10 on the second floor of the dorm? Your answer should be specific.

Choices:

The ten-day cumulative incidence for the second floor of the dorm is 5/10 or 50%.

Question: You are a physician who practices medicine in HappyVille, a community of 100,000 persons. During 2009, there were 1,000 deaths from all causes. All cases of cardiovascular disease were identified, and they totaled 300. During 2009, there were 60 deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Choices:

0.06%

0.6%

0.2%

2%

20%

Question: Abigail, Bret, Cindy and Dennis are the only four students living on the third floor of the building. They hear about the sick students on the second floor and are concerned that influenza will spread to their floor. Midterm exams are approaching and they want to stay healthy, at least until after the exams are over. Abigail presents with influenza symptoms on the morning of Monday, October 11th, one week before midterm exams begin. Bret and Cindy decide to leave the dorm and stay with friends until midterm exams are over. They leave first thing Tuesday morning, October 12th. Thursday morning (October 14th) Dennis is showing influenza symptoms. Starting from Monday, October 1st, what is the influenza incidence density for the third floor?

Choices:

The numerator is easy = 2 new cases of influenza (Abigail and Dennis). It‘s the denominator that takes some thought: Abigail contributes 10 person-days at risk before she gets sick (October 1thto 10th). Bret and Cindy each contribute 11 person-days at risk (October 1st to 11th) before they leave the dorm. Dennis contributes 13 person days before he gets influenza (October 1stto 13th) So, the total number of person days for the denominator is: 10+2(11)+13 = 45 The influenza incidence density for the third floor is 2/45 person-days. (Note the time frame is embodied in the person-days) You can understand why in large studies we leave the calculation to the computer!

Question: You are a physician who practices medicine in HappyVille, a community of 100,000 persons. During 2009, there were 1,000 deaths from all causes. All cases of cardiovascular disease were identified, and they totaled 300. During 2009, there were 60 deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Choices:

300 per 100,000

60 per 1000

100 per 1000

10 per 1000

Question: When a new treatment is developed that prevents death but does not produce recovery from a disease, the following will occur:

Choices:

The prevalence of the disease will decrease

The prevalence of the disease will increase

The incidence of the disease will decrease

The incidence of the disease will increase

The incidence and prevalence of the disease will both decrease

Question: The causes of lupus are poorly understood but may involve mercury. You read a study in which an investigator measured the prevalence of lupus in workers in a mercury battery factory and compared this to the prevalence of lupus in factory workers who made wind generators, a process that does not involve mercury. Lupus was present in 1% of the battery workers and none of the workers in the wind generator factor.

Choices:

The exposure of interest is mercury

Question: The term epidemic refers to:

Choices:

A disease that has a low rate of occurrence but that is constantly present in a population

An disease that occurs in a population at a rate in excess of 10 per 1000 population

A greater than normal occurrence of a disease for that population at that time

Diseases of the respiratory system that occur seasonally

Question: You are a physician who practices medicine in HappyVille, a community of 100,000 persons. During 2009, there were 1,000 deaths from all causes. All cases of cardiovascular disease were identified, and they totaled 300. During 2009, there were 60 deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Choices:

0.03%

0.3%

3.0%

0.06%

0.6%

Question: Epidemiologic studies examining exposure-disease relationships may be observational or interventional. What is the essential difference between an interventional and an observational study design?

Choices:

In an interventional study design the investigator intervenes to assign an exposure to a study volunteer, such a treatment or procedure (by random or nonrandom assignment) whereas in an observational study, the investigator merely observes the exposure as it occurs in the volunteer without intervening.

Question: The causes of lupus are poorly understood but may involve mercury. You read a study in which an investigator measured the prevalence of lupus in workers in a mercury battery factory and compared this to the prevalence of lupus in factory workers who made wind generators, a process that does not involve mercury. Lupus was present in 1% of the battery workers and none of the workers in the wind generator factor.

Choices:

The outcome of interest is lupus.

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Source:  Janet, E.A. Forrester, Kwan Ho Kenneth Chui, Steven Cohen, Michael D. Kneeland, Alice Tang, David Tybor. Epidemiology and Biostatistics 2010. (Tufts University OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.tufts.edu/Course/65/ (Accessed 3 May, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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