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Lifecourse epidemiology

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A life course approach to epidemiology is the study of the long term effects on later health or disease risk of physical or social exposures during gestation, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, or later adult life. Much of the interest in life course epidemiology has centered around chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type II diabetes and cancer, but its concepts have also been adopted for mental health and ageing. It proposes various models as to how exposures in early and later life may operate in a cumulative or interactive fashion to alter disease risk and functional decline. (For more details see Ben-Shlomo, Y. & Kuh, D. 2002, "A life course approach to chronic disease epidemiology: conceptual models, empirical challenges and interdisciplinary perspectives", Int.J Epidemiol., vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 285-293.)

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