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Epidemiology and Genetics 

Epidemiology and Genetics
Chapter:
Epidemiology and Genetics
Author(s):

James Bluett

, Suzanne Verstappen

, and Symmons Deborah

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199688371.003.0001
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date: 30 October 2020

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in human populations. It is applied to describe the prevalence and incidence of a disease, to identify predictors (genetic and environmental) of the development of disease, and to describe the consequences of a disease. Understanding the distribution and burden of disease helps health policymakers and the general public to understand the impact of diseases and injuries across different regions of the world and the need for specific intervention programmes and better distribution of health-care resources. Epidemiology studies are also suitable to describe the occurrence and predictors of long-term consequences of a disease (e.g. co-morbidities, disability, mortality). A genetic basis underlying a number of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders has been established via twin and family studies. Using rheumatoid arthritis as an exemplar, milestones that have produced step-changes in the knowledge of the genetics underlying the development of disease are discussed.

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