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Montreal Gazette - Conference gathers experts in epidemic

Published: 22 Jun 2011

After Chernobyl, what did public health officials learn about dealing with Japan's nuclear meltdown?

After Chernobyl, what did public health officials learn about dealing with Japan's nuclear meltdown? More than 1,500 delegates from 35 countries, descending on Montreal for the third North American Congress of Epidemiology, will digest cutting edge topics - from nuclear radiation to cellphone use and cancer susceptibility. Held every five years, the event brings together top experts in research, practice and policy in the field…

Epidemiology is the study of the determinants and distribution of disease over time and groups and place, explained Dr. Rebecca Fuhrer, chairperson of McGill University's department of epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health. Epidemiologists examine healthy as well as sick populations, for example, the incidence of lung cancer among smokers and non-smokers. They help identify causes of illness and develop prevention strategies as well as treatment. "It's the foundation of public health and medical research," said Fuhrer, head of the congress organizing committee.

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