News tagged with risk factors

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

Is cancer just a question of 'bad luck'?

"Doctor, what caused my cancer?" For doctors, this question is often perplexing. Some of the population risk factors are known, but when it comes to specific cases, only assumptions can be made. However, scientists have a ...

Jul 19, 2017
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Hiking accidents—take care when descending mountains

Falls account for about half of all hiking accidents. With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a team led by Martin Faulhaber from the University of Innsbruck is currently investigating what makes hikers slip, trip ...

Jul 10, 2017
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Falls lead to declines in seniors

More than half of elderly patients (age 65 and older) who visited an emergency department because of injuries sustained in a fall suffered adverse events—including additional falls, hospitalization and death—within 6 ...

Jul 06, 2017
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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).

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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