Commentary : Integrating social aspects into biomedicine

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Commentary : Integrating social aspects into biomedicine

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Publication Article, other scientific
Title Commentary : Integrating social aspects into biomedicine
Author(s) Johnsdotter, Sara ; Eriksson, Håkan
Date 2013
English abstract
Modern biomedicine excels in discoveries in areas such as identification of pathogens and biochemical pathways, and the unveiling of genetic information. This remarkable development had its starting point back in the 19th century with the discovery of how microorganisms were related to disease. Until this point in time physicians primarily had had to rely on patients’ subjective illness experiences and social behavior in deciding diagnosis and treatment. When illness and disease moved into the laboratories the role of social and cultural factors for bodily processes was almost totally discarded. During the last decades it has become increasingly clear that an all-encompassing understanding of physiology and pathology requires that social and cultural factors be taken into consideration. The high placebo effect obtained during clinical trials is evidence of this. The pathways of the placebo effect are slowly being uncovered and this research testifies to the importance of factors not traditionally pertaining to biochemistry. Among the studies investigating into the interface between biochemical activity and social life, there are those showing associations between emotions and production of cytokines in inflammatory reactions, and how psychosocial stress might induce both depression and inflammation through activation of the nervous system. Consequently, future research needs to be multidisciplinary in order to reveal and identify areas of biomedicine so far missed. Collaboration between biomedical researchers and scholars from the social sciences and the humanities has a potential to capture more complex relations in the field of health and disease, and, in the end, make scientific contributions that better mirror the intricate conditions of human life.
DOI (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher Synergy Publishers
Host/Issue Journal of Modern Medicinal Chemistry;1
Volume 1
ISSN 2308-8044
Pages 61-63
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) biomedicine
social sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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