Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Volume 47, Number 1, Winter 2004

CONTENTS

Erratum

Articles

    Halperin, Edward C.
  • Paleo-Oncology: The Role of Ancient Remains in the Study of Cancer
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cancer -- Etiology.
    • Paleopathology.
    Abstract:
      Paleo-oncology is the study of carcinomas and sarcomas in ancient human populations and their hominid precursors. These populations are informative concerning the possible influences on cancer of morphologic and functional evolution, diet, lifestyle, and other environmental factors.The prevalence of cancer in ancient populations might have differed from that in modern humans, because of substantial differences in tobacco and alcohol use, diet, life expectancy, and the availability of treatment. The available physical data concerning cancer in antiquity includes evidence of its existence in animal fossils and ancient humans and their precursors. The difficulties of paleo-oncologic research include a limited soft tissue record. In evaluating cancer in ancient remains, one must also deal with the problem of pseudopathology: whether an observed tissue change is an antemortem pathologic lesion or a postmortem artifact. Future archeological discoveries and the application of improved diagnostic techniques may enable paleo-oncology to make further contributions to our understanding of cancer.
    Borrello, Mark E.
  • Mutual Aid and Animal Dispersion: An Historical Analysis of Alternatives to Darwin
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kropotkin, Petr Alekseevich, kniaz, 1842-1921.
    • Wynne-Edwards, Vero Copner.
    • Evolution (Biology)
    Abstract:
      Petr Alekseyevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) and Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards (1906-1997) developed evolutionary theories that emphasized social groups and cooperation rather than the organism-level natural selection of standard Darwinian theory. The most important reason for their alternative interpretations was their experience as field naturalists. Kropotkin and Wynne-Edwards worked in arctic environments and were impressed by aspects of the natural world that differed significantly from those experienced by Darwin or Wallace. These field experiences led to their emphasis on mutual aid and group selection, respectively. Understanding the development of their theories helps to illuminate the continuing debates over evolutionary theory and the current resurgence of interest in group selection.
    Gellhorn, Alfred.
  • Reminiscences from My Medical School and Residency Days
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gellhorn, Alfred -- Knowledge -- Medicine.
    • Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.). School of Medicine.
    • Medical education -- Missouri -- Saint Louis.
    Abstract:
      A physician who was a medical student and resident in the 1930s at the Washington University School of Medicine recalls many of the remarkable professors who were recruited after Abraham Flexner had recommended a complete reorganization of the school in 1910, and who shaped the development of the school. Each of these individuals pioneered developments that shaped the research, clinical, and organizational advances of medicine in the 20th century. More than 60 years after graduation, the recollections rekindle the excitement and fun of medical education during that period.
    Friedmann, Herbert Claus, 1927-
  • From Butyribacterium to E. coli: An Essay on Unity in Biochemistry
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    Subject Headings:
    • Biochemistry -- History.
    • Kluyver, A. J. (Albert Jan), 1888-1956.
    • Donker, Hendrick Jean Louis.
    • Monod, Jacques.
    Abstract:
      New ideas in science frequently arise from neglected or distorted antecedents.This essay deals with the idea of biochemical unity, encapsulated in Jacques Monod's well-known phrase, dating from 1954: "Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants." An earlier version of this phrase,—"From the elephant to butyric acid bacterium—it is all the same!"—was coined in 1926 by the Dutch microbiologist Albert Jan Kluyver. In that year Kluyver and his associate Hendrick Jean Louis Donker published a celebrated paper, "Unity in Biochemistry."The concept of biochemical unity had many antecedents, but these had never caught on. The Kluyver-Donker paper has often been regarded to provide a boost to biochemical and especially to microbiological thinking. Its interpretations and misinterpretations represent an encapsulated history of biochemistry. The present paper examines the history of the concept of biochemical unity from before to beyond Kluyver, investigates the two "elephant" phrases and their possible relationships, and ends with a discussion of the attractiveness of unifying ideas in science.
    Weksler, Marc E. (Marc Edward), 1937-
  • Naming Streets for Physicians: "L'affaire Carrel"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carrel, Alexis, 1873-1944 -- Political and social views.
    Abstract:
      In the 1970s, Paris and many other French cities named streets in honor of Alexis Carrel, the French physician, scientist, and Nobel laureate. Controversy erupted in the 1990s, when Carrel's right-wing political views were espoused by the National Front party. Honors such as street names require not only respected contributions to society, but also high standards of personal conduct. Paris has recently followed the lead of other French cities and has voted to remove Carrel's name from its streets.
    Fox, Renée C. (Renée Claire), 1928-
    Swazey, Judith P.
  • "He Knows That Machine is His Mortality": Old and New Social and Cultural Patterns in the Clinical Trial of the AbioCor Artificial Heart
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    Subject Headings:
    • Heart, Artificial.
    • Clinical trials -- Social aspects.
    Abstract:
      The clinical trial of the AbioCor artificial heart, initiated in July 2001 and still in process, has taken place within a matrix of social and cultural patterns that are both "old" and new." The old patterns—those that have accompanied previous clinical trials of other vital artificial organs and transplantation in the United States—include "experiment perilous," and courage, heroism, and pioneering themes; "right stuff" motifs; "Americana" symbols; allusions to the meaning of the human heart; connections with a for-profit corporation; and the occurrence of moratoriums. New patterns—those more particular and distinctive to the AbioCor trial—involve the restrictions imposed on releasing information about the post-operative clinical status of the implant recipients; the quasi-institutionalization of a patient advocacy system to represent patient-subjects and their families; and the "crises of success" that were encountered when several of the AbioCor recipients survived longer than expected. In certain instances, old and new patterns have been combined—for example, in some of the idiosyncratic features of the AbioCor-associated lawsuit that has resulted in part from the problem of the "therapeutic misconception," the belief that an experimental intervention is actually intended to be a treatment.
    Collins, Kimberly Layne, 1979-
  • Profitable Gifts: A History of the Merck Mectizan Donation Program and Its Implications for International Health
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    Subject Headings:
    • Merck & Co.
    • Ivermectin -- Therapeutic use.
    • Onchocerciasis -- Treatment.
    Abstract:
      A unique public/private partnership situated around a pharmaceutical, Merck's Mectizan® donation program stands out as an example of corporate philanthropy in the history of the pharmaceutical industry and provides insight into future public/private partnerships in public health. This paper considers the issues Merck faced in the decision to donate Mectizan (ivermectin) and in the subsequent development of the Mectizan donation program, delineating the moral and financial debates that arose within the company. Coming after almost 15 years of donation, this assessment of the program's strengths and shortcomings suggests how the pharmaceutical industry can better serve as a viable partner in improving international health.
    Barilan, Y. Michael.
  • Medicine Through the Artist's Eyes: Before, During, and After the Holocaust
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    Subject Headings:
    • Art, German -- 20th century.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence.
    • Medicine in art.
    Abstract:
      Pre-Holocaust German art celebrates the doctor as a hero, triumphant over disease and poor hygiene. It emphasizes the ontological conception of disease and the ability of medicine to cure pathology or remove it. Some New Objectivity artists question this conceptualization by pushing it to the extreme of realistic representations. However, the clinical encounter has virtually disappeared from post-Holocaust art. Medicine is depicted in three main ways: as an ambiguous and alien Faustian craft; with a focus on holistic notions of healing, thus avoiding biomedicine altogether; or with a focus on the subjective experience of illness, thus ignoring the interaction between medicine and the diseased person.

Essay Review

    Scott, L. Ridgway.
  • Bioinformatics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Jiang, Tao, 1963-, ed. Current topics in computational molecular biology.
    • Xu, Ying, 1960-, ed.
    • Zhang, Michael Q., ed.
    • Lengauer, T. (Thomas), ed. Bioinformatics: from genomes to drugs.
    • Molecular biology -- Mathematics.
    • Bioinformatics.

Book Reviews

    Glasgow, Sara M.
    Pirages, Dennis.
  • The Health of Nations: Infectious Disease, Environmental Change, and Their Effects on National Security and Development, and: Plagues and Politics: Infectious Disease and International Policy (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Price-Smith, Andrew T. Health of nations: infectious disease, environmental change, and their effects on national security and development.
    • Price-Smith, Andrew T., ed. Plagues and politics: infectious disease and international policy.
    • Communicable diseases.
    • Communicable diseases -- Political aspects.
    Avise, John C.
  • Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Keller, Evelyn Fox, 1936- Making sense of life: explaining biological development with models, metaphors, and machines.
    • Developmental biology.
    Jucovy, Peter M.
  • Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Abraham, Carolyn. Possessing genius: the bizarre odyssey of Einstein's brain.
    • Harvey, Thomas Stoltz.
    Kazin, Michael, 1948-
  • Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fukuyama, Francis. Our posthuman future: consequences of the biotechnology revolution.
    • Biotechnology -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    MacKinnon, Dean Frederick.
  • Descriptions and Prescriptions: Values, Mental Disorders, and the DSMs (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sadler, John Z., 1953-, ed. Descriptions and prescriptions: values, mental disorders, and the DSMs.
    • Mental illness -- Classification -- Social aspects.
    Ruse, Michael.
  • I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gould, Stephen Jay. I have landed: the end of a beginning in natural history.
    • Natural history.



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