Case Study on Birth Defects

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1. How does the class-presented case study of birth defects draw together and demonstrate each of the goals of epidemiologists (15 points)? During class lecture on 4/4/2014, I learned about a case study regarding neural tube defects (NTD). The instructor, Amy Ham, discussed this study as well as various ways professionals apply the goals of epidemiology: “ -To determine the extent of disease found in the community -To trace the etiology of disease -To study the natural history of disease in a specific population -To evaluate the research -To provide the foundation for developing policy (Ham, 2014)” Researchers in the case study aimed to determine the extent of NTD within the community, trace the etiology of NTD, and study the natural history of NTD in the specific population. In evaluating their research, they found that there were no real differences between women with NTD births and those who had healthy births. The only correlation was that women who did not graduate high school were twice as likely to have NTD pregnancy (Ham, 2014). It can be speculated that this is because women who finish high school may have learned more about health, may be older, or better prepared for pregnancy. The study left many questions about NTD unanswered, however, which provides the foundation for further research. Additional studies on NTD have demonstrated that enzyme transformation failures which increase homocysteine levels are responsible for preventing closure of the
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