Chapter

The Evidence Base for Clinical Prevention

Robert B. Wallace

in Prevention vs. Treatment

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199837373
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199837373.003.0004
The Evidence Base for Clinical Prevention

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In this chapter I provide an overview of the nature and completeness of scientific evidence for clinical preventive interventions. While great strides have been made in disease prevention, there are many gaps in our ability to provide preventive modalities because of: (1) absent or incomplete understanding of the causes of many important conditions, (2) our lack of understanding of the impact of community vs. individual health behavior factors that might best impact factors that have been identified to cause disease, (3) poor understanding of where to administer interventions, (4) lack of effective administration techniques, (5) the unknown effectiveness of combined prevention modalities, and (6) limited understanding of providing prevention in the face of existing illness, including the unknown adverse effects of various prevention modalities in combination with medical treatments. Further, even when effective interventions are available, this effectiveness is only partial because of lack of effective methods and important logistical challenges in delivering them to properly targeted individuals and populations. While important research continues, there are still great gaps and limitations in attaining optimal population prevention, limitations that must be better understood when considering the apportioning of health system resources to clinical prevention versus treatment.

Keywords: evidence; community health behaviors; individual health behaviors; clinical prevention; health policy; disease causation

Chapter.  7683 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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