Acquired susceptibility is an important factor of disease

Acquired susceptibility is an important, but until now often ignored, potential cause of disease. In a commentary article published today in the open access journal Environmental Health, professors Paolo Vineis and David Kriebel emphasize that the interaction between environments and genes is a fundamental characteristic of the causal processes leading to disease. But they find that recent research on gene-environment interactions has failed to include acquired susceptibility to disease as part of the causal perspective. For example, susceptibility to cancer may be acquired in the womb or in early life and could be mistaken for genetic predisposition. The effects of preventable environmental factors may then be wrongly attributed to inherited traits. This concept has fundamental implications for the interpretation of research in epidemiology and deserves attention from the scientific community.


Notes on causality and susceptibility to disease
Paolo Vineis and David Kriebel
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2006, (in press)

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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