Living with complexity and big data. Causal dispositionalim enters pharmacovigilance

Ralph Edwards on dispositionalism in pharmacovigilance

We have seen a lot of interest in the CauseHealth approach and issues during these last years, especially among clinicians who see a need for a more person centered healthcare. Can this be useful also outside the clinic? Yes, according to senior medical advisor at the WHO Uppsala Monitoring Center for Drug Safety, Ralph Edwards. In a recent perspectives article in the UMC report, he argues that dispositionalism can be useful for dealing with complexity, individual variation and the patient’s unique context. (more…)

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DATA AND THEORY: NEW CAUSEHEALTH PAPER ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF WEIGHING COMPLEX EVIDENCE IN MEDICINE.

by Elena Rocca

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In the early 19th century, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis noticed from his clinical experience that antiseptic routines in healthcare reduced infections at childbirth. After carrying out some studies on the matter, he proposed that the practice of disinfecting hands in the obstetrician ward of the Vienna General Hospital, where he worked at the time, would have reduced the incidence of puerperal fever. However, for that time this seemed as an implausible suggestion.  The germ theory of disease was still unheard of (Pasteur developed such theory only some decades later), and therefore there was no accepted understanding of how disease could be transmitted from one organism to the other. Semmelweis suggestion was therefore rejected by the medical community. (more…)

Evidence based medicine. What evidence, whose medicine, and on what basis?

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Rani Lill Anjum

The evidence-based medicine movement was intended as a methodological revolution. Its proponents suggested the best way to establish the effectiveness of treatment and new criteria to choose between available treatments without bias. Philosophically, however, these changes were not so innocent, at least not ontologically speaking. In bringing itself closer to science, medicine has become less suitable for dealing with complex illnesses, individual variations and, as I will argue, with causation in general. (more…)

Capturing the Colour: Classification and its Consequences

Author Eivind Hasvik
(#5 in the Whole Person reflections series)

Gazing through my window, I’m enriched by a muted but beautiful December twilight-palette. The remains of autumn covered by a thin layer of snow. It’s said that every culture has its own sense of the different hues. I’m reading a beautiful passage in White by Kenya Hara about the traditional Japanese way of naming colours. Contrary to the modern way of categorizing a given spectrum of light, such as greens, magentas or yellows, it’s said that red, blue, white and black were the only basic colour adjectives in 8th century Japan. The tradition was not to classify, but to describe and texturize, capturing the seasons and surroundings. This narrative heritage is beautifully documented in the book The traditional colours of Japan.

I’m imagining a metaphorical link from all this to the difficulties of describing experience—sensations, emotions, pain or pleasure. (more…)

http://photos.jdhancock.com/photo/2011-08-22-001429-together.html

Does your regular GP know you – as a person? And if so, does it matter?

Written by Bente Prytz Mjølstad
(#3 of the Whole Person reflections series)

Have you ever thought about whether your regular GP knows more about you than your blood pressure or cholesterol levels? If so, might such knowledge be of any medical relevance?

Most of us visit our regular GP once or twice a year for more or less trivial complaints, and you are probably most interested in the GPs medical skills, and not so concerned about whether the doctor knows you as person or not. However, if you got seriously ill or had a chronic illness, would it still not matter? (more…)