I think the ‘culture of biomedicine’ is related to the Western medical approach on how we treat certain illness and disease. Western medicine tends to diagnose and treat ailments usually based off of the symptoms the patient has or reports having. Much like our globalized, fast paced, need to have it now culture, the medicines being prescribed are usually fast acting  and provide temporary relief unless taken every day. Not much is treated in regards to the psyche and underlying issues associated with the individual and the symptoms. I think the culture of biomedicine in our society has shifted from a legit concern for the health of individuals and what/how biomedical research can do for the greater good to the present notion of  –how can we broaden the diagnosis for a certain disease/illness (ADHD article) so that more people associate with having  it and more ‘expert patients’  feel like they need to be treated, with a pill of course. I feel like the present day culture of biomedicine is largely shaped by pharmaceutical companies and the drugs they push — they (the companies) are constantly trying to find the next billion dollar accident that was Viagra. In other words how can we get more patients/clients to spend money on our prescribed medication. The culture of biomedicine is an important concept because it relates to the attitudes and decisions we make as ‘informed’ patients/clients.

When I look at the dichotomy of treatment vs enhancement it seems very straightforward. Treatment is done for someone who has something wrong with them whether it is physical or mental it doesn’t matter the point is that they are not normal and the treatment will make them normal again. When I think of enhancement I think of improving something or someone that is already normal but making it more efficient or effective. (Like in this week’s materials about giving prozac to the normal healthy mother so she can feel even better than normal) I kind of feel like all dichotomies come from growing up and learning from things around you, like the notion of good or bad, heaven or hell, light or dark, and dead or alive etc. It’s either this or it’s that.

Treatment/Enhancement is accepted in Western society because since we firmly believe in the facts around the biological processes associated with disease and illness we believe we can treat where treatment is needed and offer enhancement where no treatment is needed but could make life easier.



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  1. Josh Williams says:

    The concept of treatment vs. enhancement draws a very fine line within our limits as human beings. It is important for clinicians to understand the difference between the two because if treatment and enhancement are defined as the same thing, the human condition itself seems flawed and potentially, not being a “perfectly enhanced/treated” human or being “normal could be seen as becoming an illness in the eyes of society. Also, it is important in the opposite sense to ensure that treatment and enhancement are not too foreign. This modifications to the body that could correct problems in daily living are not seen as simply enhancements and allow the person to be treated in the proper way to assume a happy comfortable life. If clinicians take these dichotomy as a fact the implications could include the ideas that the human body is imperfect (ill from the start and needs to be enhanced to reach it’s maximum potential, which I believe would skew our entire nations idea of illness in a very negative way. Also, I feel that it would imply that treatment could become even more of a luxury because it is simply enhancing the body from a lower state, if this is the case then only the privileged would be able to receive treatment in their times of need making our health care system even more unfair.

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