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The Borrowed Disciplines of Epidemiology to Understand Human Diseases

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The investigation of the various determinants of human health as well as illnesses is dependent on various disciplines that range from a tripartite blend of scientific classes: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, and public health sciences (Ahrens, & Pigeot, 2005). According to MacMahon and Pugh (1970), epidemiology is concerned with studying how disease frequency is distributed and what determines such distributions. Epidemiology, in a bid to investigate diseases in human beings, depends on various borrowed aspects from other disciplines such as methodologies and concepts but it remains different from the same disciplines from which it borrows.

From which aspects of other disciplines do you feel epidemiology borrows?

First and foremost, Epidemiology, being a study of diseases in human body, borrows heavily from biochemistry. Biochemistry is highly related to epidemiology and contributes to the discipline by providing a reliable methodology as well as interpretation of the chemical tests conducted to act as a basis for diagnosis as well as the administration of treatment (Gordis, 2014). Without biochemistry, it would be difficult for epidemiologists to understand the subject. Also, epidemiology borrows a lot from biology in order to establish a clear understanding of the human diseases in context. Other fields like biostatistics play a critical role in epidemiology by providing a reliable tool for the analysis of data by the epidemiologists as they seek to understand diseases in human beings. Epidemiology also borrows from microbiology. Microbiology is mainly concerned with the study of micro-organisms, and as such, epidemiology may utilize microbiological knowledge to understand the disease-causing microorganisms such as bacterium and administer the appropriate interventions.

Despite the dependency of epidemiology on various disciplines, it exhibits significant differences in both the approach and practice. For instance, epidemiology is concerned with numerous aspects of human health that are not in any way related to microbiology such as the degree of vulnerability, trends of diseases such as obesity in selected population groups, as well as the determination of the factors responsible for the spread of human diseases. Microbiology on the other hand is only concerned with the study of a wide range of organisms: both diseases causing as well as non-disease causing organisms. Biology on the other hand is concerned with numerous aspects of both plants and animals, unlike epidemiology which is only concerned with diseases among human beings. Biochemistry is, on the other hand, a science with a major focus on the chemical as well as the physiochemical processes occurring in living organisms unlike epistemology which is only concerned with diseases in human beings only (MacMahon and Pugh, 1970).


It’s evident that epidemiology heavily borrows from other disciplines in a bid to accomplish its objective in understanding diseases in human beings. The field is however distinct from the very disciplines it borrows some concepts, methodologies, and practices.

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