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The Rise and Fall of Disease
February 24 @ 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm
Department of Epidemiology Seminar Series
Prof. Dr. Johan P. Mackenbach, Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
In this presentation Dr. Mackenbach will discuss the amazing phenomenon that over the last centuries most diseases have shown a pattern of ‘rise-and-fall’. This suggests that the ultimate cause of disease is not to be sought within the body, but in the interaction between humans and their environment. A general explanation might be that, in their tireless pursuit of a better life, humans constantly engage in new activities which expose them to new health risks, at a pace that evolution cannot keep up with. Fortunately, most diseases have also declined again, mainly as a result of human interventions, in the form of public health interventions or improvements in medical care. The virtually continuous succession of diseases starting to fall in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries also suggests that the concept of an “epidemiological transition” has limited usefulness.
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