necessary cause

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nec·es·sar·y cause

an etiologic factor without which a result in question will not occur; the occurrence of the result is proof that the factor is operating.


in diseases, an agent, event, condition or characteristic which plays an essential role in producing an occurrence of the disease. Because there is nowadays much less certainty about what actually establishes a disease state it is becoming more common to use terms such as disease determinants, causal association, causal relationship. koch's postulates are no longer the sole criterion used in establishing causality.

constitutional cause
an inherent characteristic of the patient. Usually a systemic defect, e.g. protoporphyria.
direct cause
there must be no known variable intervening between the suspect factor and the disease.
endogenous cause
the cause comes from within the patient. See also constitutional cause (above).
exogenous cause
the cause comes from outside the patient, e.g. a virus infection.
indirect cause
all causes other than the direct cause (see above).
host cause
see endogenous cause (above).
necessary cause
a factor which must be present to produce disease; the disease does not occur unless the factor was or is present.
precipitating cause
the trigger mechanism that initiates the commencement of the disease state.
predisposing cause
a mechanism that makes a patient more susceptible to the precipitating cause.
primary cause
the principal factor in causing the disease.
secondary cause
a factor that assists the primary cause. A cause of secondary importance.
specific cause
the single cause in a single cause-single disease relationship.
sufficient cause
a minimal set of conditions and events which inevitably produce disease.
References in periodicals archive ?
There is an absolutely necessary cause including all the relative necessary causes and explaining their individualities.
But, since, as I indicated in the previous paragraph, there is no relevant moral difference between being an ultimate cause of one's harm and being a proximate cause of one's harm as long as one is a necessary cause of one's harm, it has to be concluded that evicting an invitee to his death is just as much a contravention of the NAP and the principle of gentleness as killing him on the spot is.
Note an important common feature in all of the experiments described so far: The events that subjects list as most causal are also "but for" causes; that is, being a "but for" or necessary cause is a requirement for assigning causality.
Hitler may have been a necessary cause of World War II" concedes Schweller on page 7; but his main point is that personalities and ideologies are not sufficient factors to bring about a war.
They routinely introduce undergraduates to two of Weber's simpler arguments--the particular claim that certain Calvinist beliefs were a necessary cause of modern capitalism and the general theory that bureaucracy is the most efficient type of administration.
There is another condition [along with malnutrition] which we assume as a necessary cause of immediate discomfort, but too often fail to appreciate as a fundamental cause of permanent injury.
Ibn Khaldun appears to see in the destruction of old dynasties the necessary cause for resumption of creative activity.
This Gentile self-identification was a necessary cause [sic] of belief in the deity of Jesus, a belief which could not be held so long as the Christian community was primarily Jewish' (pp.
The probability PN thus quantifies how likely it is that X has caused Y in a necessary causation sense; here X is a necessary cause of Y means that X is required for Y to occur but that other factors might be required as well.
Epidemiologic evidence and human papillomavirus infection as a necessary cause of cervical cancer.

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