Epidemiological studies can be observational, analytic or descriptive, and can be organised in a number of ways. The end result of any study design is to collect useful data that reveals relationships between causes and outcomes (including exposure and environmental factors) in certain diseases. For Pharmaceutical businesses this allows the development of effective drugs for the treatment and prevention of disease, and gives medical organisations the opportunity to control conditions favourable to the spread of disease.
The Cost Of Research
Conducting epidemiological studies involves time and expense, especially when there are multiple environmental factors and risk levels involved e.g. age, stress, and exposure to chemicals. At Black Swan Analysis we can help you design the most efficient tests and methodologies for your line of research, extracting the data you need and saving you time and money.
Factors In Epidemiological Data Collection
For all studies, three factors play an essential role in understanding an outbreak or epidemic: the host, agent & environment. Together these are known as the epidemiological triad. Data can be collected relevant to all three elements, showing how different factors interact within an outbreak.
The study methodology itself can be either observational, which may involve analysing an outbreak ‘in the wild’– such as a flu epidemic; or experimental, where the analyst controls all the variables – e.g. in drug testing and clinical trials.
The method we normally pursue is experimental, as this is the fastest way to gain specific commercially applicable results. Each experiment involves description and analysis to quantify the most scientifically valid data.
Collection methods include the following types of study:
Case studies: An epidemiological case study analyses the experience of a group of patients under controlled conditions, reviewing statistics that may affect outcomes from the illness. A case study examines a specific set of factors and individuals – and does not make general claims for the wider population.
Cohort studies: A cohort study explores how diseases spread by looking at exposure patterns and how infection takes place. These studies are useful in establishing control/quarantine procedures and preventative medication. Results can be extrapolated into the wider population.
Control studies: A control study segments subjects based on their experience of a disease, e.g. an infection at different stages, and compares each group to a ‘control’ group of unexposed individuals.
Our FREE Guide To Epidemiological Data
Our downloadable guide, How To Evaluate Good Epidemiology Data explains how to analyse and make decisions based on Epidemiology data. To access a free copy, simply follow this link - How To Evaluate Good Epidemiology Data.