Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Volume 46, Number 3, Summer 2003


Articles

Science and Medicine

    Ledgerwood, Levi G.
    Ewald, Paul W.
    Cochran, Gregory M.
  • Genes, Germs, and Schizophrenia: An Evolutionary Perspective
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    Subject Headings:
    • Schizophrenia -- Etiology.
    • Schizophrenia -- Genetic aspects.
    Abstract:
      Literature on schizophrenia and other mental illnesses has emphasized the compatibility of evidence with genetic causation without adequately considering alternative hypotheses of disease causation. Although some studies from the mid-20th century reported associations between certain pathogens and schizophrenia, only recently has the possibility of infectious causation of schizophrenia again become an active focus of research. Infectious causation of schizophrenia is still, however, generally regarded as less well demonstrated than genetic causation. This article evaluates the evidence that has been used to support genetic and infectious causation. Our consideration of infectious causation focuses on the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii but also assesses other pathogens that may contribute to the development of some of the illnesses currently categorized as schizophrenia. Although evidence generally accepted as demonstrating genetic causation can be readily explained by hypotheses of infectious causation, some of the evidence implicating infectious causation cannot be similarly explained by genetic causation. This asymmetry indicates that a scientific approach to the causation of schizophrenia needs to put a greater emphasis on tests that distinguish hypotheses of genetic causation from those of infectious causation.
    Mallard, John R.
  • The Evolution of Medical Imaging: From Geiger Counters to MRI--A Personal Saga
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    Subject Headings:
    • Diagnostic imaging -- History -- 20th century.
    • Geiger-Müller counters -- History -- 20th century.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging -- History -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      This article traces the evolution of medical imaging, from the crude images of the thyroid gland obtained using Geiger and scintillation counters, to the automatic scanners built to image brain tumors and organs, to gamma cameras, to digital imaging. A computed tomography scanner built in Aberdeen in the late 1960s led to the present-day gamma-camera tomographs, the main workhorse of nuclear medicine. The gradual evolution of the steps needed for clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are described, along with the rapid development of this novel form of body imaging. A brief account is also given of the present-day use of MRI in clinical medicine worldwide, with some modern cutting-edge applications, and its possible future.

History and Biography

    McNeill, William Hardy, 1917-
  • The Biological Basis of Human History
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    Subject Headings:
    • Human evolution.
    • Biology -- Social aspects.
    Abstract:
      Well-known physiological peculiarities of human bodies had much to do with raising our ancestors to the top of the food chain: erect posture, binocular vision, an unusually efficient cooling system, and an omnivorous diet. But these capabilities pale beside the advantages that accrued to proto-humans and then to humans from expanding and more precise modes of communication: first dance, then language. Still later, transportation and communication transcended limits set by human muscles with the invention of wind-propelled flotation and animal caravans, while writing overcame limits of personal memory and face-to-face dissemination of information. Contacts across local social and cultural boundaries tended to propagate best practices, making humankind a uniquely dangerous, constantly changing parasite upon other forms of life.
    Park, Buhm Soon.
  • The Development of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institutes of Health after World War II
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    Subject Headings:
    • National Institutes of Health (U.S.) -- History -- 20th century.
    • Medicine -- Research -- Government policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Public health -- Research -- Government policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Federal aid to medical research -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      This paper explores the rise of the National Institutes of Health after World War II from the perspective of intramural scientists working at the NIH's main campus in Bethesda. Several postwar social circumstances—the local research tradition, the wartime experience of civilian scientists, the doctor draft, and anti-nepotism rules in academia—affected the recruitment of research-oriented scientists into the NIH. These historically contingent factors were no less important than the larger political, legislative context for the development of the NIH intramural program as a prominent research institution.
    Spiro, Howard M. (Howard Marget), 1924-
    Norton, Priscilla Waters.
  • Dean Milton C. Winternitz at Yale
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    Subject Headings:
    • Winternitz, M. C. (Milton C.)
    • Yale University. School of Medicine -- History.
    Abstract:
      Milton Winternitz led Yale Medical School as its Dean from 1920 to 1935. An innovative, even maverick leader, he not only kept the school from going under, but turned it into a first-class research institution. Dedicated to the new scientific medicine established in Germany, he was equally fervent about "social medicine" and the study of humans in their culture and environment. He established the "Yale System" of teaching, with few lectures and fewer exams, and strengthened the full-time faculty system; he also created the graduate-level Yale School of Nursing and the Psychiatry Department, built numerous new buildings, and much more. It is a loss to 21st-century medicine that his dream of an Institute of Human Relations, envisioned as a refuge where social scientists would collaborate with biological scientists in a holistic study of humankind, lasted for only a few years, before falling victim to the more obvious triumphs of medical science and technology. It is sad, too, that he is remembered largely as a Jew presiding over a medical school that, like most others, restricted the number of Jewish students, rather than for his contributions to American medicine.

Medical Education and Practice

    Schneider, Gregory W.
    DeHaven, Mark J.
  • Revisiting the Navajo Way: Lessons for Contemporary Healing
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    Subject Headings:
    • Navajo mythology.
    • Navajo Indians -- Medicine.
    • Navajo philosophy.
    Abstract:
      Given the paradox of the success of modern medical technology and the growing patient dissatisfaction with present-day medicine, critics have called for a reevaluation of contemporary medical practice. This paper offers a phenomenological analysis of traditional Navajo healers and their ceremonies to highlight key aspects of healing. A phenomenological view of medical practice takes into account three key features: the lifeworld, the lived body, and understanding. Because of their closeness to a phenomenological view, traditional Navajo mythology and healing practices offer insight into the healing process. Contemporary physicians can appreciate the phenomenological elements of Navajo healing ceremonies, including the Mountain Chant. Navajo healers help patients make sense of their illnesses and direct their lives accordingly, an outcome available to contemporary practitioners, who are also gifted with the benefits of new technologies. By examining scientific medicine, Navajo healing practices, and phenomenology as complementary disciplines, the authors provide the groundwork for reestablishing a more therapeutic view of health.

Culture and Society

    Mackenbach, J. P.
    Howden-Chapman, Philippa.
  • New Perspectives on Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health
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    Subject Headings:
    • Public health -- Social aspects.
    • Public health -- Economic aspects.
    Abstract:
      In all countries with available data, risks of disease and premature death tend to be systematically higher for those with lower levels of education and income. During the 1990s, substantial progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms and factors involved in generating these variations in health. What has emerged from recent research efforts is a rather complex picture of how individuals in the lower socioeconomic strata are exposed over their lifetime to a wide variety of unfavorable and interacting material, cultural, and psychological conditions, and how these exposures lead to ill-health—either directly, or indirectly through unhealthy behaviors or psychosocial stress. This research has opened a number of new perspectives which we review here: life-course perspectives (dealing with the clustering of advantage and disadvantage over an individual's lifetime), biological perspectives (dealing with the biological mechanisms that bring socioeconomic disadvantage under the skin), macrosocial perspectives (dealing with the effect of the wider social, economic, and political environment), and policy perspectives (dealing with the implications of research findings for the development of effective strategies to reduce inequalities in health).
    Kalinski, Michael I., 1943-
  • State-Sponsored Research on Creatine Supplements and Blood Doping in Elite Soviet Sport
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sports and state -- Soviet Union.
    • Doping in sports -- Soviet Union.
    • Creatine -- Physiological effect.
    Abstract:
      The former Soviet Union began participating in international sport after World War II and soon achieved a dominant position in the Olympic Games and other competitions. The success of Soviet athletic programs led to charges of unfair practices but, because of secrecy surrounding Soviet research in exercise biochemistry, it has been difficult to substantiate these charges. This article presents previously restricted information regarding the development and use of creatine supplements and blood doping in the USSR. Early work by Olexander Palladin established the role of creatine in muscle function. In the 1970s, Soviet scientists showed that oral creatine supplements improved athletic performance in short, intense activities such as sprints. Subsequent studies in the West substantiated these investigations and have led to the widespread acceptance and use of creatine supplements to enhance muscle function and athletic performance. In addition, however, the Soviet government supported the development of blood doping, which is banned by the International Olympic Committee. Blood doping was pervasive in the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s, and was used by many Soviet athletes in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. Open publication and discussion may help to prevent the abuses that can come from secret scientific research.

Book Reviews

    Wald, Priscilla.
  • Networking: Communicating with Bodies and Machines in the Nineteenth Century (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Otis, Laura, 1961- Networking: communicating with bodies and machines in the nineteenth century.
    • Telecommunication -- History -- 19th century.
    De Kerckhove, Derrick.
  • Metal and Flesh, and: Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Dyens, Ollivier. Metal and flesh.
    • Mann, Steve, 1950- Cyborg: digital destiny and human possibility in the age of the wearable computer.
    • Niedzviecki, Hal, 1971-
    • Technology -- Social aspects.
    • Mann, Steve, 1950-
    Pence, Harry E.
  • Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Levere, Trevor Harvey. Transforming matter: a history of chemistry from alchemy to the buckyball.
    • Chemistry -- History.
    Grosvenor, Peter C.
  • Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Paul, Ellen Frankel, ed. Why animal experimentation matters: the use of animals in medical research.
    • Paul, Jeffrey, ed.
    • Animal experimentation -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    Epstein, Richard Allen, 1943-
  • Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wise, Steven M. Drawing the line: science and the case for animal rights.
    • Animal rights.



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