models

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…)

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Imagination and its Companions

Author Brian Broom
(#1 of the Whole Person reflections series)

How is it possible to be whole person-oriented and still feel that our work is manageable? Surely, we can’t be all things to all people? (more…)

What is the form of causation in health and disease, and intervention?

By David Evans

In a paper with a very long title, recently published in Medicine Health Care and Philosophy, Roger Kerry, Nic Lucas and I set out some ideas about how causation applies to relationships between health and disease. In particular, we focused on how treatment (intervention) might act to limit disease and restore health. (more…)

Reductionism isn’t enough for public health

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Chinese medical poster, 1933 (ref US NLM; image source here)

By Håkon Boman Andresen

The overarching goal of the public health sciences is to increase the population’s health. Society spends a lot of money each year on health research, which again is used to develop public policies and guidelines. However, is this causing the population to have better health? (more…)

Re-Thinking Preclinical Research

How efficient is it really to exclude individual variability, context sensitivity and plurality of causes from lab models?

by Elena Rocca

Faith in medical research has decreased recently. Despite all the expectations of ‘personalized medicine’ and ‘tailored drug research’ since the dawn of the post genomic era, pre-clinical medical research has remained pretty much the same. (more…)