Descriptive Epidemiology Essay Sample

How would you describe controls for this study? What methods might be used to indentify controls?

It is imperative to know what controls are before committing to describe controls for this study and methods that might be used to identify controls. In the context of case-control studies, controls refers to individuals without the disease and control studies are studies in which proportion of cases with a potential risk factor are compared to the proportion of controls in terms of that risk factor. Such studies are useful for rare conditions or for risk factors with long induction periods. Control studies help to ascertain the validity of the factors being studied in generating the outcome under study.

A control study is done basing on a formulated hypothesis. This means that the studies hypothesis plays a significant role in determining what the control study should be. Therefore, the first step would be formulating one and for the purpose of this paper this is our hypothesis; this pathogen causes disease outbreak in young children below the age of five. Going by this, one will then go a head and divide his population by age – (5years and below) and (ages above 5 years). At this point, one can then proceed and compare the two age categories to determine why the pathogen causes disease outbreak in children below five years. In this context, control is therefore the population in ages above five years that is not affected by the pathogen. 

Do you agree with the investigators’ decision to match on age group and gender? Why or why not?

Yes, I agree with the investigators’ decision to match on age group and gender. This is so because descriptive epidemiology examines a range of factors which include factors like age, gender, socioeconomic status, availability of health services, race, education and even information on behaviors like drug abuse, shift work, eating habits and exercise patterns.

Schoenbach & Rosamond, 1999). There is a correlation between people suffering from certain diseases and one or more of these factors which influence the disease directly or indirectly. Research has it that there is a strong correlation between the females and breast cancer though the disease has been surfaced among the males recently. Young children and pregnant women make a higher percentage of deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO). Basing on these facts I do agree with the investigators’ decision to match on age group and gender. The relationship between gender and age could be useful in understanding variance in phenomena.

Over what time period would you examine exposures to possible risk factors for cases? For controls?

Looking at control studies, they are said to be useful for risk factors with long induction periods. The answer as to how long one is to examine exposures to possible risk factors for cases is long but not definite. This is because different diseases will take different times to start showing symptoms and so it will depend on the disease in question. It should also be noted that risk factors differ in how long they take to cause impact. How long it takes may be determined by the factor’s dose and properties. Therefore, exercising patience is very helpful and rewarding. The experimenter has to give time to his set up to yield the desired results.

In carrying out control experiments, as Grimes & Schulz (2002) suggested, the experimenter is supposed to hold all conditions constant except for the conditions being compared. The two populations being matched should therefore be exposed to similar conditions including the time period of being exposed to the risk factors.