How does life course epidemiology help us understand disease and aging?
Life course epidemiology emerged in the 1990s as a response to the growing rift between differing theoretical models of disease etiology. As such it attempted to synthesize existing approaches within a multi-level framework that considered both macro and micro determinants to understand the importance of lifestyle, psychosocial and biological pathways. It proposed a variety of conceptual models that might operate across the life course. These highlighted the importance of testing specific pathways for how exposures might exert their long term influence either through critical and/or sensitive periods or by establishing risk accumulation and chains of risk. This talk will cover the background for life course epidemiology as well as discussing some of the common conceptual misunderstandings. It will will use various examples around ageing to illustrate these concepts.