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Medical Humanities

Steven D Brown, Paula Reavey
The impact of social and material conditions on mental health is well established but lacking in a coherent approach. We offer the concept of 'vitality' as means of describing how environments facilitate 'feelings of being alive' that cut across existing diagnostic categories. Drawing on the work of Stern, Fuchs, Worms and Duff, we argue that vitality is not solely a quality of an individual body, but rather emerges from attunements and resonances between bodies and materials. We use vitality as a lens to explore how movements within and between assembled sets of relations can facilitate or disable feelings and expressions of being alive...
May 2, 2019: Medical Humanities
Owen Rees
In the pursuit to offer validity and lineage to the modern diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), non-historical scholars often remove ancient episodes from their social context and retrospectively diagnose them based on our modern diagnostic criteria. This approach reinforces our pre-existing ideas, and form a confirmation bias that does not help to grow our understanding of these injuries. As this article argues, the use of ancient precedents would offer greater benefit to the psychological and medical profession when used to ask new questions rather than reiterate old answers...
April 19, 2019: Medical Humanities
Matthew Wolf-Meyer
This article proposes a novel approach to bioethics, referred to as "affective bioethics", which draws on traditions in anthropology, science and technology studies, disability studies, and Spinozist materialism. By focusing on the case of Michael and Terri Schiavo, in which Terri's personhood and subjectivity are challenged by dominant forms of neurological reductivism in the USA, this article suggests that approaching her condition as a set of relations with the people in her life and her socio-technical environment may have helped to develop new ways to conceptualise personhood and subjectivity moving beyond the view of her as a non-person...
April 6, 2019: Medical Humanities
Birgitte Ahlsen, Eivind Engebretsen, David Nicholls, Anne Marit Mengshoel
A patient-centred approach has gained increasing interest in medicine and other health sciences. Whereas there are discussions about the meaning of a patient-centred approach and what the concept entails, little is known about how the patient as a person is understood in patient-centred care. This article investigates understandings of the patient as a self in patient-centred care through physiotherapy of patients with chronic muscle pain. The material consists of interviews with five Norwegian physiotherapists working in a rehabilitation clinic...
March 27, 2019: Medical Humanities
Raymond Holt, Stuart Murray
This article argues for the value of considering the interaction of literary/cultural studies, disability studies and engineering/design studies in the ongoing development of a critical medical humanities research frame. With a specific focus on prosthesis, but also considerations of embodiment, technology and augmentation as concepts in both cultural/disability theory and engineering/design, we note how the shifting and plastic ideas of 'the prosthetic' as used within cultural studies have never been in conversation with scholars who work on prostheses in engineering design or the processes through which such technologies are produced...
March 20, 2019: Medical Humanities
Ben Rutter, Rodney Hermeston
Disability or health-related literature has potential to shape public understanding of disability and can also play an important role in medical curricula. However, there appears to be a gap between a health humanities approach which may embrace fictional accounts and a cultural disability studies approach which is deeply sceptical of fiction written by non-disabled authors. This paper seeks to reconcile these perspectives and presents an analysis of the language used by Jonathan Franzen in his description of Parkinson's disease in the novel The Corrections We use detailed linguistic analysis, specifically stylistics, to identify the techniques Franzen adopts to represent aspects of impairment and disability...
March 6, 2019: Medical Humanities
Neil Pemberton
This article scrutinises issues around disability and dependent (interdependent) agency, extending these to non-human animals and service dogs, with a sustained reference to the training of guide dogs. It does this through a detailed engagement with the training methodology and philosophy of The Seeing Eye guide dog school in the 1930s, exploring the physical, bodily and instrumental means through which the guide dog partnership, and the identity of the instructor, the guide dog and the guide dog owner, jointly came into being...
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Justyna Wlodarczyk
This paper probes the distinction between the so-called emotional support animals (ESAs), a term that is specific to the USA and that has recently been the subject of significant media attention, and service animals. The attention devoted to ESAs has largely taken on the form of jokes and critical comments related to the absurdity of the 'political correctness' that makes it possible for pigs to fly in the passenger cabin of airplanes and llamas to accompany their owners on trips to the supermarket. Much criticism is meted out, also from within the disability community, against animal guardians who try to 'pass their animals off' as service dogs and ESAs, with a call for the establishment of clear-cut criteria for the definition of ESAs and service animals...
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Robert G W Kirk, Neil Pemberton, Tom Quick
Being well together, an inaugural Research Forum, will critically examine the myriad ways humans have formed partnerships with non-human species to improve health across time and place. Across the humanities and social sciences, a growing body of scholarship has begun to rethink the prominence of the 'human' in our accounts of the world by exploring the category less as an individualised essence and more as a temporal process of becoming. From this perspective, being human becomes a process of 'becoming with', performed through interactions with non-human others...
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Brandy Schillace
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Lauren MacIvor Thompson
The medical intervention of 'twilight sleep', or the use of a scopolamine-morphine mixture to anaesthetise labouring women, caused a furore among doctors and early 20th-century feminists. Suffragists and women's rights advocates led the Twilight Sleep Association in a quest to encourage doctors and their female patients to widely embrace the practice. Activists felt the method revolutionised the notoriously dangerous and painful childbirth process for women, touting its benefits as the key to allowing women to control their birth experience at a time when the maternal mortality rate remained high despite medical advances in obstetrics...
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Natalie Goodison, Deborah J G Mackay, I Karen Temple
The medieval English romance The King of Tars gives an account of a birth of a lump of flesh. This has been considered as fantastic and monstrous in past literature, the horrific union of a Christian and Saracen. However, while the text certainly speaks to miscegenation, we propose that this lump of flesh is actually a hydatidiform mole. We trace the hydatidiform mole from antiquity, surrounding it with contextual medieval examples, from theology, history and medicine, that also describe abnormal births as 'lumps of flesh'...
March 2019: Medical Humanities
Arild Kjell Aambø
Modern medicine's investment in the disembodied, objective 'science' of biomedicine, where patients are transformed from suffering subjects to objects of investigation, calls for heightened ethical awareness. Around the world, ethical codes of conduct emphasise beneficence and non-maleficence. Lately, we have also seen a quest for autonomy and equitable healthcare for diverse populations. However, these tenets alone do not effectively address the problems which regularly occur in transcultural consultations...
February 18, 2019: Medical Humanities
Tracy Moniz, John Costella, Maryam Golafshani, Chris Watling, Lorelei Lingard
Patients and family caregivers tell different stories about their illness and care experiences than their physicians do. Better understanding of the relationships among these narratives could offer insight into intersections and disconnections in patient, caregiver and physician perceptions of illness and care. Such understanding could support enhanced patient-centred care in medical education and practice. Narrative writing is increasingly common among physicians, patients and caregivers and uniquely positioned to reveal matters of concern to these groups...
February 8, 2019: Medical Humanities
Chrystal Jaye, Isabelle Lomax-Sawyers, Jessica Young, Richard Egan
In New Zealand, aiding and abetting a person to commit suicide or euthanasia even with consent is unlawful. The introduction of a third Bill on assisted dying to the House of Representatives following a high-profile court case afforded an opportunity for examining how assisted dying was discussed in the public sphere. In this article, we report on a discourse analysis of a selection of social media to illustrate the ways in which citizens participate in the voluntary euthanasia debate. The volume of social media posts that made up our data set suggests that the legalisation of assisted dying is a highly topical and deeply salient societal issue...
February 7, 2019: Medical Humanities
Katrina Longhurst
This article is about the complicated intersections of mental illness, diagnosis and narrative in life writing. It analyses challenges posed to the authority of diagnosis-both as medical label and mode of reading-within two memoirs about mental illness and celebrates the ensuing literary innovation in each text. As such, this article is situated as part of the continuing move within the critical medical humanities to develop more sophisticated readings of illness narratives and emphasises the importance of the role of literary studies to achieve this aim...
February 6, 2019: Medical Humanities
Rachel Hammer, Nithya Ravindran, Nathan Nielsen
Death Cafés are non-profit social franchises that arise spontaneously in communities to serve as informal forums for discussing death. There is a great need within the medical community for the kind of conversation that Death Cafés foster: open, unstructured, spontaneous, genuine and interdisciplinary dialogue. Burnout in healthcare, with symptoms of exhaustion, depersonalisation and decreased efficacy, is a global crisis, with alarming estimates suggesting one in three practicing physicians experience burnout...
January 19, 2019: Medical Humanities
Evie Kendal
Infectious disease epidemics are widely recognised as a serious global threat. The need to educate the public regarding health and safety during an epidemic is particularly apparent when considering that behavioural changes can have a profound impact on disease spread. While there is a large body of literature focused on the opportunities and pitfalls of engaging mass news media during an epidemic, given the pervasiveness of popular film in modern society there is a relative lack of research regarding the potential role of fictional media in educating the public about epidemics...
January 19, 2019: Medical Humanities
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 27, 2018: Medical Humanities
Susan Bredlau
Plato's Charmides , I argue, is a remarkably productive text for confronting and questioning some common presuppositions about the body and illness, particularly when we take seriously Socrates' claim that healing Charmides' headaches requires first examining-and perhaps healing-his soul. I begin by turning to the work of the psychiatrist and medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman to argue that even if the pain Charmides experiences is more 'physical'than 'mental', a physical exam and physical intervention alone will not necessarily be effective in treating his headaches...
December 11, 2018: Medical Humanities
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