Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
COSTA, Maria da Conceição Nascimento and TEIXEIRA, Maria da Glória Lima Cruz. The concept of space in epidemiological research. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1999, vol.15, n.2, pp. 271-279. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X1999000200012.
Epidemiology's conceptual and methodological shortcomings have placed constraints on the study of health phenomena related to human communities, thus posing a challenge to the field. This paper presents some basic principles resulting from the observation of the field of geography in defining its object space and the application of this object to medicine and epidemiology. Such principles state the pertinence of a conceptual and methodological strategy focusing on an approach to geographic space as expressing the population's living conditions. Application of this concept to epidemiological studies is still limited, although such proposals have already been developed in other areas of knowledge. Ecological studies, whose unit of analysis is the group, and the ecological model, based on the idea of an inter-relationship of factors, if improved, could become a promising alternative in this direction. The authors emphasize that researchers should have wholeness as their scientific reference in order to guarantee the non-separation of the complex interactive processes determining health phenomena in the population.
Keywords : Medical Geography; Geographical Space; Spatial Analysis; Epidemiology.