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Etiology of Disease

The etiology of disease refers to the causes or to the study of the causes or origins of disease. The term etiology is derived from the Greek aitiologia meaning ‘statement of cause.’ The roots come from aitia ‘cause’ + logia ‘speaking.’ The primary focus of investigations of disease causation within the discipline of epidemiology has changed over time. However, the elucidation of the relationships between potential causal factors and diseases or health outcomes has remained a central concern in epidemiological research.

Historical Background

Investigations of disease etiology in the modern period of epidemiology have continued to evolve with the dominant paradigms of disease causation of each era. The sanitary era of the early 19th century was dominated by the miasma theory, a view of disease as arising ...

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