Archive for the ‘Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine’ Category

epistemological and ethical assessment of obesity bias in industrialized countries

December 24, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Bernard Lonergan’s cognitive theory challenges us to raise questions about both the cognitive process through which obesity is perceived as a behavior change issue and the objectivity of such a moral judgment. This theory provides the theoretical tools to affirm that anti-fat discrimination, in the United States of America and in many industrialized countries, is the result of both a group bias that resists insights into the good of other groups and a general bias of anti-intellectualism that tends to set common sense against insights that require any thorough scientific analyses. While general bias diverts the public’s attention away from the true aetiology of obesity, group bias sustains an anti-fat culture that subtly legitimates discriminatory practices and policies against obese people. Even though designing anti-discrimination laws seem to be a reasonable way of protecting obese and overweight individuals from discriminatio, obesity bias can be best addressed by reframing the obesity debate from an environmental perspective from which tools and strategies to address both the social and individual determinants of obesity can be developed. Attention should not be concentrated on individuals’ behaviour as it is related to lifestyle choices, without giving due consideration to the all-encompassing constraining factors which challenge the social and rational blindness of obesity bias.

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Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition

June 9, 2011 Comments off

Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Paula Modersohn-Becker, widely considered to have been one of the most important independent Expressionist painters of the early twentieth century, was thirty-one years old when she gave birth to her first child. Following the then-common practice of putting women to bed rest for two-four weeks after delivery, she died of massive pulmonary embolism when she was first allowed to stand, eighteen days after giving birth. Paula had foreseen her death at a young age and was apprehensive about her pregnancy, yet she painted herself as pregnant in her best known self-portrait, thus underlining the importance of the pregnancy in her life. In the light of knowledge available at the time, the authors present a brief discussion of the life and death of Paula Modersohn-Becker as a reflection on the potential dangers of blindly following conventional wisdom in the medical profession.

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Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies

May 16, 2011 Comments off

Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/ meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in focus groups. The qualitative analysis of these focus groups with representative practitioners of body awareness practices, and the perspectives of their patients, elucidated the common ground of their understanding of body awareness. For them body awareness is an inseparable aspect of embodied self awareness realized in action and interaction with the environment and world. It is the awareness of embodiment as an innate tendency of our organism for emergent self-organization and wholeness. The process that patients undergo in these therapies was seen as a progression towards greater unity between body and self, very similar to the conceptualization of embodiment as dialectic of body and self described by some philosophers as being experienced in distinct developmental levels.

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Generalized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpfulGeneralized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpful

May 6, 2011 Comments off

Generalized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpful
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Worrying is the central feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Many people worry from time to time, but in GAD the worrying is prolonged and difficult to control. Worrying is a specific way of coping with perceived threats and feared situations. Meanwhile, it is not considered to be a helpful coping strategy, and the phenomenological account developed in this paper aims to show why. It builds on several phenomenological notions and in particular on Michael Wheeler’s application of these notions to artificial intelligence and the cognitive sciences. Wheeler emphasizes the value of ‘online intelligence’ as contrasted to ‘offline intelligence’. I discuss and apply these concepts with respect to worrying as it occurs in GAD, suggesting that GAD patients overrate the value of detached contemplation (offline intelligence), while underrating their embodied-embedded adaptive skills (online intelligence). I argue that this phenomenological account does not only help explaining why worrying is used as a coping strategy, but also why cognitive behavioral therapy is successful in treating GAD.

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Obsessionality & compulsivity: a phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Obsessionality & compulsivity: a phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Source:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Progress in psychiatry depends on accurate definitions of disorders. As long as there are no known biologic markers available that are highly specific for a particular psychiatric disorder, clinical practice as well as scientific research is forced to appeal to clinical symptoms. Currently, the nosology of obsessive-compulsive disorder is being reconsidered in view of the publication of DSM-V. Since our diagnostic entities are often simplifications of the complicated clinical profile of patients, definitions of psychiatric disorders are imprecise and always indeterminate. This urges researchers and clinicians to constantly think and rethink well-established definitions that in psychiatry are at risk of being fossilised. In this paper, we offer an alternative view to the current definition of obsessive-compulsive disorder from a phenomenological perspective. Translation: This article is translated from Dutch, originally published in [Handbook Obsessive-compulsive disorders, Damiaan Denys, Femke de Geus (Eds.), (2007). De Tijdstroom uitgeverij BV, Utrecht. ISBN13: 9789058980878.]

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