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The Evolution of Public Health Research—A Summary of the Blog Series

Over the past year, we presented a series of blog posts on The Evolution of Public Health Research, our salute to a profession and area of study that has not only saved many, many millions of lives, but also dramatically improved the length and quality of life as well.

Content: eBook, Topic: Public Health Research, The..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Malaria, Part 2

Malaria Elimination vs. Eradication, and Genetic Diversity vs. “Freezer Epidemiology”

It is because of its historic mission to eliminate malaria that the CDC is in Atlanta, Georgia. The agency is still deeply involved with the control of malaria, by providing technical assistance around the world, and continuing to protect the US population from the parasite. The CDC estimates that 1,500 people in the USA annually are infected with malaria while traveling, and the CDC tracks these cases and advises the medical community on accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Malaria, Part 1

Mosquitoes, the Military, and Why the CDC is in Atlanta

To most of us in the US, malaria is a health problem restricted to distant parts of the globe. Even in the international media, the disease receives little attention. However, it has only been since 1949 that Malaria was declared “eliminated” in the US.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Heart Disease, Part 2

Smoking, Salt and the Downside of Success

In the past 55 years, death rates from cardiovascular disease have declined by 68 percent—a two thirds reduction in mortality. Over the same period of time, death from stroke has declined by more than three fourths.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Heart Disease, Part 1

How a Radio Game Show and a Town in Massachusetts Invented Biobanking and Redefined Public Health Research

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: HIV/AIDS

No one reading this blog was alive when John Snow created his famed cholera map of Soho, or when Robert Koch discovered M. tuberculosis. Many of us weren’t alive, much less paying attention to scientific studies, when the Framingham Heart Study was published to link cigarettes to lung cancer. But there’s one epidemic that everyone should be familiar with. One that was extensively covered in the media, that aspiring children dreamed of curing, that has inspired so many award-winning movies, that was declared a threat to national security.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health: Virchow, DOTS-plus, and the Economics of Tuberculosis (Part 2)

After the discovery of Streptomycin in the 1940s, followed by isoniazid in the 1950s and later rifampin in the 1970s, the incidence of TB in the developed world dropped dramatically. Sanatoria closed and research into new antibiotics and vaccines likewise diminished. TB was no longer considered a significant threat in the US and much of Europe. So when multiple drug-resistant strains of TB (MDR-TB) appeared in the 1980s, the concern within the infectious disease community was perhaps understated. Besides, all but a small number of cases were in underdeveloped countries where the very high cost and difficulty of treating MDR-TB was considered beyond reach.

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health: Virchow, DOTS-plus, and the Economics of Tuberculosis (Part 1)

In all of human history, tuberculosis has killed more people than any other disease. Discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, the M. tuberculosis bacterium was responsible for the Great White Plague that began in the 1600s and has not yet truly ended. It was the primary cause of death in Europe in the mid-1600s, and even in the 1800s, the high mortality from TB among young adults earned it the nickname of “the romantic disease,” which glosses over the symptoms that earned TB other nicknames such as “consumption", “phthisis" (bless you), and "scrofula".

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Sir Austin Bradford Hill and the Cigarette-Rolling Machine

In 1923, a general practitioner in rural Virginia received a phone call from a friend, a surgeon at a hospital in Richmond. A middle-aged man with an uncommon form of cancer had been admitted to the hospital - would he like to come and see the patient, the friend asked. It was a rare opportunity to examine and diagnose an unusual illness first-hand. The country doctor was happy to visit the hospital and further his education, especially since he'd doubted seeing more than one or two similar patients over the rest of his career.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Labora..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Snow’s Dilemma

Since the dawn of humanity, we have observed nature and hypothesized reasons behind how and why things happen. With the development of civilization, we standardized the methods with which we test, observe, and analyze nature, and this gave birth to the field of science. As far as the defined field of study now known as Epidemiology and Public Health, it can be argued that it began in 1854, with a cholera outbreak in the Soho district of London and a physician named John Snow (who knew more than nothing).

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Public..........