Bio Medicine

Bio Medicine – the old and the new model

In the English speaking world, until recently “bio medicine” used to be just another word for “medical biology”, (en.wikipedia.org , Oct 2017) a branch of medical science that had arisen in the 19th century on the basis of Louis Pasteur’s then revolutionary discovery of the role germs play in the spread of infectious diseases.

Medical biology became the bedrock on which the fortunes of the pharmaceutical industry were build and are still standing, and medical schools and practitioners still very much rely on this century-old model for diagnosis and treatment. Hence those who wrote (and authorised) the article on “bio medicine” in the English language WIKIPEDIA  (Oct. 2017) feel justified to tell readers that this model “has been the dominant health system for more than a century”. We are not told, that it has been criticised for decades as being out-dated by modern research and a paradigm shift is badly needed and on its way.

In 2012, Suzanne Bennet Johnson, distinguished research professor at Florida State University’s College of Medicine, declared that, in the US medical system, this paradigm shift was finally happening (S.Bennet Johnson, APA PresidentSeptember, September 2012, Vol 43, No.8).  Bio medicine was having its long-awaited renaissance, based on a model known as the “the biopsychosocial model”, an approach to medical research and practice proposed as far back as 1977 by George Engel ((Engel, G. Science, 1977, 196:129-136). Why? Because, Americans were dying primarily from chronic rather than infectious diseases, in other words, medical biology alone could not deal with modern health problems.  Still “the U.S. health care system remained entrenched in the [old] biomedical model”  (Bennet Johnson).

But as chronic diseases became ever more prevalent, Bennet Johnson told her audience 2012, medical schools in the US were finally beginning to realise that their graduates were taught a system that kept “failing to address this modern health-care challenge”.  So they had started to teach their future health professionals things like “patient-provider communication skills, the medical impact of common societal problems, the impact of patients culture and beliefs, and the impact of provider bias and beliefs”.

Acknowledging and taking to heart the “impact of provider bias and beliefs” is, of course, extremely important for newly training health professionals to understand, if a paradigm shift for the benefit of patients if to be effected.

It is also very important in view of the ongoing war that the entrenched old guard of an out-dated model is waging on Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) – supposedly due to lack of scientific evidence for their approach and the danger they consequently must be pose to the unassuming public  – when it would be much better for patients’ welfare to join forces and let go of ideological territorialism.

Sadly, the medical profession in the UK seems to be particularly guilty of ongoing entrenchment. as well as purposeful ignorance of highly relevant researchconducted in our own universities.

For example, this autumn (2017),  the University of Coventry published a scientific review of 18 research projects concerned with the “effectiveness of mind–body interventions (MBIs) in improving mental and physical health” , including Mindfulness, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Relaxation Response, and Breath Regulation. (Front Immunology, 2017; 8: 670. link  10.3389/fimmu.2017.00670 )

The studies, using gene expression analysis,  added up to provide “considerable evidence” that these MBI were able to down-regulate the activity of  genes that had been targeted by NF-κB.  “NF-κB translates stress into inflammation by changing the expression of genes which code for inflammatory cytokines. Lower activity of NF-κB suggests reduced inflammation, i.e. they seem to be  able to revert the molecular signature of the effects of chronic stress.”

In other words, MBI therapies and practices boost the immune system and prevent and may even reverse detrimental changes to the DNA caused by specific and non-specific stress.

On the continent, the term Bio Medicine is a term coined after the paradigm shift and understood as representing the present approach of a much more holistic view of the aims and possibilities of medical research and practice. >>>

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