Mention the word Epidemiology and instantly my mind conjures up the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in America being swarmed by zombies or men in bright orange astronaut-type suits in The Crazies. While it’s true that it includes studying highly infectious diseases and how they spread (zombies and end of world scenarios aside!), it can be applied to any disease.
Having spent much of my time in the last year working on the data that was collected from our recent epidemiology study, I was keen to shout about the fact that the data is now ready for researchers to use. The analysis of this data will add great value to samples that we already have in our DNA Bank.
What is Epidemiology?
A recently published paper exploring the connection between occupational risk factors and MND has sparked lots of interest, especially by the media. The study in question, led by Dr Roel Vermeulen from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, reviewed and studied five occupational exposures that had previously been suggested to be associated with developing MND (specifically, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS). These factors included exposure to electromagnetic fields, electrical shocks, solvents, metals and pesticides. While a few studies investigating these factors were already conducted in the past, their results are not consistent.
Despite the vast coverage of this topic in tabloids, we wanted to describe the research paper itself – to explain what exactly the researchers did, what they found and what it all means. Continue reading