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Digitizing Life in the United States
Imagine biology and medicine today without computers. What would laboratory work be like without electronic databases and statistical software? Would disciplines like genomics even be feasible without the means to manage and manipulate huge volumes of digital data? How would patients fare in a world without CT scans, programmable pacemakers, and computerized medical records? Today, computers are a critical component of almost all research in biology and medicine. Yet, just fifty years ago, the study of life was by far the least digitized field of science, its living subject matter thought too complex and dynamic to be meaningfully analyzed by logic-driven computers. In this long-overdue study, historian Joseph A. November explores the early attempts, in the 1950s and 1960s, to computerize biomedical research in the United States. Computers and biomedical research are now so intimately connected that it is difficult to imagine when such critical work was offline. Biomedical Computing transports readers back to such a time and investigates how computers first appeared in the research lab and doctor's office. November examines the conditions that made possible the computerization of biology—including strong technological, institutional, and political support from the National Institutes of Health—and shows not only how digital technology transformed the life sciences but also how the intersection of the two led to important developments in computer architecture and software design. The history of this phenomenon is only vaguely understood. November's thoroughly researched and lively study makes clear for readers the motives behind computerizing the study of life and how that technology profoundly affects biomedical research even today.
“Over the last two decades, medical researchers have become more comfortable wit the idea that serious attention must be given to ethical issues when the tests of new technologies are being designed. They have come to see that experimental trials must meet certain standards, not only of scientific rigour, but also of moral acceptability.” (Introduction)
Presented by an international group of experts, the eight essays included in this volume evaluate the new technologies in fetal care and also wrestle with the new problems, often moral ones, that have accompanied techonological advancement. The opening chapters review state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging and molecular genetics and focus on the new patient—the fetus. From here, the efficacy of fetal therapy, the problem of assessing long-term viability, the ethical issues involved in both clinical practice and medical research, and the legal rights of the new patients and their parents are examined. The final chapter “Are Fetuses Becoming Children?” brings a fresh philosophical perspective to the question of a fetus’s status and rights.
Changing Cultures of Disease and Activism
For nearly forty years, feminists and patient activists have argued that medicine is a deeply individualizing and depoliticizing institution. According to this view, medical practices are incidental to people’s transformation from patients to patient activists. The Biopolitics of Breast Cancer turns this understanding upside down.
Maren Klawiter analyzes the evolution of the breast cancer movement to show the broad social impact of how diseases come to be medically managed and publicly administered. Examining surgical procedures, adjuvant therapies, early detection campaigns, and the rise in discourses of risk, Klawiter demonstrates that these practices created a change in the social relations-if not the mortality rate-of breast cancer that initially inhibited, but later enabled, collective action. Her research focuses on the emergence and development of new forms of activism that range from grassroots patient empowerment to environmental activism and corporate-funded breast cancer awareness.
The Biopolitics of Breast Cancer opens a window onto a larger set of changes currently transforming medically advanced societies and ultimately challenges our understanding of the origins, politics, and future of the breast cancer movement.
Maren Klawiter holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently pursuing a law degree at Yale University.
Some of humankind's greatest tools have been forged in the research laboratory. Who could argue that medical advances like antibiotics, blood transfusions, and pacemakers have not improved the quality of people's lives? But with each new technological bre
This comprehensive volume is the first to offer guidance to clinicians and researchers treating or studying bipolar disorder in older adults. Growing numbers of elderly people are affected by this serious mental illness. Presenting the most recent information, experts in the fields of bipolar disorder, geriatrics, and mental health services research cover late-life bipolar disorder in four major domains: epidemiology and assessment, treatment, complexity and comorbidity, and specialized care delivery. Revealing the effect of the aging process on the disease, they address diagnosis patterns over the life course, rating scales of assessment, pharmacologic and psychological therapies, adherence to treatment, effects of cultural factors, assessing the quality of care, and legal and ethical issues. An important tool for clinicians, this book will serve as a springboard for further research into this complex disorder.
There was a time when birth was treated as a natural process rather than a medical condition. Before 1800, women gave birth seated in birth chairs or on stools and were helped along by midwives. Then societal changes in attitudes toward women and the practice of medicine made birthing a province of the male-dominated medical profession.
In Birth Chairs, Midwives, and Medicine, Amanda Carson Banks examines the history of the birth chair and tells how this birthing device changed over time. Through photographs, artists' renditions of births, interviews, and texts from midwives and early obstetricians, she creates an evolutionary picture of birthing practices and highlights the radical redefinition of birth that has occurred in the last two centuries.
During the 1800s the change from a natural philosophy of birth to a medical one was partly a result of heightened understandings of anatomy and physiology. The medical profession was growing, and with it grew the awareness of the economic rewards of making delivery a specialized practice. In the background of the medical profession's rise was the prevailing perception of women as fragile invalids. Gradually, midwives and birth chairs were relegated to rural and isolated settings.
The popularity of birth chairs has seen a revival in the late twentieth century as the struggle between medical obstetrics and the alternative birth movement has grown. As Banks shows through her careful examination of the chairs themselves, these questions have been answered and reconsidered many times in human history. Using the artifacts from the home and medical office, Banks traces sweeping societal changes in the philosophy of how to bring life into the world.
Tells the story of the infamous "Goat Gland Doctor" -- controversial medical charlatan, groundbreaking radio impresario, and prescient political campaigner -- and recounts his amazing rags to riches to rags career. A popular joke of the 1920s posed the question, "What's the fastest thing on four legs?" The punch line? "A goat passing Dr. Brinkley's hospital!"
It seems that John R. Brinkley's virility rejuvenation cure -- transplanting goat gonads into aging men -- had taken the nation by storm. Never mind that "Doc" Brinkley's medical credentials were shaky at best and that he prescribed medication over the airwaves via his high-power radio stations. The man built an empire. The Kansas Medical Board combined with the Federal Radio Commission to revoke Brinkley's medical and radio licenses, which various courts upheld. Not to be stopped, Brinkley started a write-in campaign for Governor. He received more votes than any other candidate but lost due to invalidated and "misplaced" ballots.
Brinkley's tactics, particularly the use of his radio station and personal airplane, changed political campaigning forever. Brinkley then moved his radio medical practice to Del Rio, Texas, and began operating a "border blaster" on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande. His rogue stations, XER and its successor XERA, eventually broadcast at an antenna-shattering 1,000,000 watts and were not only a haven for Brinkley's lucrative quackery, but also hosted an unprecedented number of then-unknown country musicians and other guests.
A Comparative Study
Throughout the fourteenth century AD/eighth century H, waves of plague swept out of Central Asia and decimated populations from China to Iceland. So devastating was the Black Death across the Old World that some historians have compared its effects to those of a nuclear holocaust. As countries began to recover from the plague during the following century, sharp contrasts arose between the East, where societies slumped into long-term economic and social decline, and the West, where technological and social innovation set the stage for Europe’s dominance into the twentieth century. Why were there such opposite outcomes from the same catastrophic event? In contrast to previous studies that have looked to differences between Islam and Christianity for the solution to the puzzle, this pioneering work proposes that a country’s system of landholding primarily determined how successfully it recovered from the calamity of the Black Death. Stuart Borsch compares the specific cases of Egypt and England, countries whose economies were based in agriculture and whose pre-plague levels of total and agrarian gross domestic product were roughly equivalent. Undertaking a thorough analysis of medieval economic data, he cogently explains why Egypt’s centralized and urban landholding system was unable to adapt to massive depopulation, while England’s localized and rural landholding system had fully recovered by the year 1500.
Depression and Gender in the Age of Self-Care
Winston Churchill called his own depression his "black dog." Black Dogs and Blue Words analyzes contemporary rhetoric surrounding depression and maintains that the techniques and language of depression marketing strategies target women and young girls, encoding a series of gendered messages about health and illness and encouraging self-diagnosis and self-medication. As depression and other forms of mental illness move from the medical-professional sphere to the consumer-public, the boundary at which distress becomes disease grows ever-more encompassing, the need for remediation and treatment increasingly warranted.