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PLoS One. 2018 Jan 25;13(1):e0190960. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190960. eCollection 2018.

A systematic approach to analyze the social determinants of cardiovascular disease.

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Sociomedical Research Department, National Institute of Cardiology, Mexico City, Mexico.
Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM), Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico.
Health Science School, University of the Valley of Mexico (UVM), Mexico City, Mexico.
Computational Genomics Division, National Institute of Genomic Medicine, Mexico City, Mexico.
Center for Complexity Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.


Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of human mortality worldwide. Among the many factors associated with the etiology, incidence, and evolution of such diseases; social and environmental issues constitute an important and often overlooked component. Understanding to a greater extent the scope to which such social determinants of cardiovascular diseases (SDCVD) occur as well as the connections among them would be useful for public health policy making. Here, we will explore the historical trends and associations among the main SDCVD in the published literature. Our aim will be finding meaningful relations among those that will help us to have an integrated view on this complex phenomenon by providing historical context and a relational framework. To uncover such relations, we used a data mining approach to the current literature, followed by network analysis of the interrelationships discovered. To this end, we systematically mined the PubMed/MEDLINE database for references of published studies on the subject, as outlined by the World Health Organization's framework on social determinants of health. The analyzed structured corpus consisted in circa 1190 articles categorized by means of the Medical Subheadings (MeSH) content-descriptor. The use of data analytics techniques allowed us to find a number of non-trivial connections among SDCVDs. Such relations may be relevant to get a deeper understanding of the social and environmental issues associated with cardiovascular disease and are often overlooked by traditional literature survey approaches, such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

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