- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
The GuardianWhy might it be better for you to be treated by a bogus doctor than a real one? How would medicine deal with the imaginary condition Undifferentiated Broken Limb? Such examples make serious points. Using lessons from the sociology of medicine, the authors show the ways in which clinical trials have changed in method owing to challenges from informed AIDS activists and 'rogue' cancer researchers. A vividly detailed explanation of the placebo effect is the base of the book's argument that medical knowledge is limited and provisional. A related strand of argument is an examination of the tension between medicine as "succour" for the individual and medicine as a (theoretically) perfectible science. What makes sense for one person may be in conflict with what is best for everyone. Thus the authors offer an illuminating way of thinking about 'alternative' medicine or the MMR vaccine scare. If you do not vaccinate your child for fear of some risk, you put the population as a whole at greater risk of epidemic. Some measure of informed scepticism is often warranted, but the medical establishment is rarely the enemy, the authors sensibly conclude.
— Steven Poole