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October 2021

Cas Lek Cesk. 1997 Jul; 136(14): 427-30.

[The cognitive role of epidemiology and its pitfalls]

Zácek A.

Ustav sociálního lékarství a verejného zdravotnictví, LF MU, Brno.

One of the most important roles of epidemiology is to seek causes of diseases. The causality in medicine is a difficult philosophical category which requires deep ontological thinking and a thorough methodological preparation. If this condition is not met, various misunderstandings and errors develop with serious consequences for clinical practice. In recent medical literature we find many controversial views which are abused by the press and cause mistrust of the public to medical science and attract patients to the dubious practices of alternative medicine. It is therefore the duty of research workers to pay more attention to modern epidemiological methods and their philosophy. The predominating pluricausal model of risk factors is recently criticized because of its excessive simplicity. reductionism and dualism which separates health from disease. The need arises of a new universal model of health where the dominant position will be held by social environmental, behavioral and psychological aspects. Modern epidemiology needs not only a correct methodology but also a proper theory.

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