News tagged with risk factors

Related topics: heart disease , patients , women , heart attack , cardiovascular disease

Obesity fuels silent heart damage

Using an ultrasensitive blood test to detect the presence of a protein that heralds heart muscle injury, researchers from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have found that obese people without overt heart disease ...

Nov 20, 2014
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Gynoid fat resists metabolic risks of obesity

(HealthDay)—The differences in the developmental profiles of upper-body and lower-body fat depots may explain their opposing associations with obesity-related metabolic disease, according to research published ...

Nov 19, 2014
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Genetic testing could improve breast cancer prevention

Scientists used mathematical models to show that analysing genetic data, alongside a range of other risk factors, could substantially improve the ability to flag up women at highest risk of developing breast ...

Nov 13, 2014
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Childhood brain tumours linked with parents' activities

An Australia-wide case-control study has found men who refuel their cars more than four times per month or use a closed wood heater before their child's birth may increase the risk of their offspring developing ...

Nov 11, 2014
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Risk factor

A risk factor is a variable associated with an increased risk of disease or infection. Risk factors are correlational and not necessarily causal, because correlation does not imply causation. For example, being young cannot be said to cause measles, but young people are more at risk as they are less likely to have developed immunity during a previous epidemic.

Risk factors are evaluated by comparing the risk of those exposed to the potential risk factor to those not exposed. Let's say that at a wedding, 74 people ate the chicken and 22 of them were ill, while of the 35 people who had the fish or vegetarian meal only 2 were ill. Did the chicken make the people ill?

So the chicken eaters' risk = 22/74 = 0.297 And non-chicken eaters' risk = 2/35 = 0.057.

Those who ate the chicken had a risk over five times as high as those who did not, suggesting that eating chicken was the cause of the illness. Note, however, that this is not proof. Statistical methods would be used in a less clear cut case to decide what level of risk the risk factor would have to present to be able to say the risk factor is linked to the disease (for example in a study of the link between smoking and lung cancer). Even then, no amount of statistical analysis could prove that the risk factor causes the disease; this could only be proven using direct methods such as a medical explanation of the disease's roots.

The earliest use of risk factor analysis dates back to Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine (1020s), though the term "risk factor" was first coined by heart researcher Dr. Thomas R. Dawber in a landmark scientific paper in 1961, where he attributed heart disease to specific conditions (blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking).

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