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Medical What is an area of health research that you think should no longer be pursued?

  1. Mar 11, 2008 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm in the process of applying to Uni. and the program I've chosen requires an additional application. That said, the one question on it is:

    What is an area of health research that you think should no longer be pursued? Why?

    I've been thinking about it and I could take the easier route and go with something ethical like stem cell research, genetic engineering, or cloning. However, I'm under the impression a lot of applicants will be submitting something similar. I've also considered doing something a little different and going with cancer research. My point being that millions, if not billions of dollars have been thrown at it and whats come out of it? Nothing, least nothing I know of.

    Well, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions that could start me out, it would be great. Thanks,
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2008 #2
    Anyone?
     
  4. Mar 11, 2008 #3

    Tsu

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    Eliminate cancer research? We've saved and extended many lives with cancer research donations. Prostate, breast and colon cancers are no longer the death sentence they once were. Even cervical cancers are becoming more preventable, treatable and even curable.

    Now if you want to stop wasting money, how about we stop paying committees to come up with new terms for things like 'stroke' (yeah, they decided people were being freaked out by the term 'stroke' - so they renamed strokes 'brain attacks' :rolleyes: And guess what! - the name never really took! Everyone still calls them 'strokes' and we've p***ed off a WHOLE LOT of money to pay these people to sit around and come up with these dumb ideas.)

    In my opinion, research dollars are not wasted dollars. 'Focus group' dollars ARE wasted.
     
  5. Mar 11, 2008 #4

    Moonbear

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    No no no...they're "cerebrovascular accidents" :rolleyes: Accident? I mean, sure they're not exactly intentional, but an accident?

    Anyway, back to the OP, if you want to stay away from the cliche ethical arguments (and I agree that's a good strategy...not only is it the easy out, you could potentially rub an interviewer the wrong way with your answer and find yourself grilled during your interviews without even having ever had that strong of an opinion on the issue), perhaps you should look into addressing a more niche area of research that has become outdated. Saying an entire branch of research has produced nothing when it has resulted in a great deal of improvement in treating and preventing disease is only going to make you look ignorant. But, perhaps you could find something that a few people are clinging onto when there are more current approaches and potential therapies that are more promising.

    As you can tell, since this is your essay, I'm not handing you a topic. If you want to run ideas past us to see if you're sufficiently informed before taking a position on it for your essay, we can certainly help with that.
     
  6. Mar 11, 2008 #5

    Tsu

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    CVA was before 'brain attack'. 'Stroke' freaked people out, 'cerebrovascular' was too big of a word that people didn't understand, so 'they' (the powers that be?) decided on 'brain attack'. Here's the clincher. They have never differentiated between the two TYPES of stroke/cva/brain attack. There is hemorrhagic and embolic. And they are treated exactly OPPOSITE!! So which is which?
     
  7. Mar 11, 2008 #6

    Tsu

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  8. Mar 11, 2008 #7

    Danger

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    I don't personally think that any area which is still relavent to health should be abandoned. That pretty much means, keep everything running that has an impact upon any living thing on the planet. Look what happened when society ignored AIDS because they figured that it was a 'monkey disease'. Other things such as avian flu eventually can mutate to a human form. Even if not, the environmental impact of animal diseases can distrupt human lives. BSE causes all sorts of hardship to we Albertans as well as Brits.
    Polio, phenylketanuria, and a lot of other things are pretty much figured out and eradicated. Unfortunately, other things that we think are gone are still out there somewhere, such as smallpox. Everyone thought that that one had been eliminated from the face of the planet, until the collapse of the Soviet Union showed that there were samples kept in storage.
    As one slowly dying from a disease of my own instigation, I would say that the most focus should be upon things to keep the kids alive for as long as possible. If you have to drop anything, drop the stuff that keeps old people alive despite their own foolishness. (Good luck trying to sort that out, though.)

    edit: Tsu... Sweetie! Hi. I was composing when you sneaked in. Good to see ya.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2008 #8

    mgb_phys

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    All research trying to prove that behaviour of 13year old kids is all due to ADHD / Autism etc and can be cured by giving them happy pills. When in fact they are simply annoying little monsters that should be put in camps deep in the forest until the turn into humans.
     
  10. Mar 11, 2008 #9

    Tsu

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    Danger!! Back at ya, Babe! I've been TRYING to stay offline and out of trouble. Sometimes it works! :smile:
     
  11. Mar 11, 2008 #10

    Tsu

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    WHAT?!?!? Waddya mean??? There's nothing more fun than a bunch of pre-teens on Ritalin!!!! :rofl:
     
  12. Mar 11, 2008 #11
    I was thinking something like acupuncture and these homeopathic/natural medications. How much research actually goes into these things? I think they're useless but if government funding thinks so as well, I'll look very ill informed.
     
  13. Mar 11, 2008 #12

    Tsu

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    Actually, it's not so much homeopathic vs. traditional medicine anymore. There are some very intense movements within the US and Europe to combine the two medical practices. Both in combination are proving to be very effective in many areas of medicine.

    Now, 'natural' preparations might be something else. Many of the 'naturals' cause problems in combination with (or even alone, depending upon it's use) traditional medications. They are often in conflict with each other. Now, if Moonbear agrees, this one might be a go. Cuz, in my book - she da MAN. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
  14. Mar 11, 2008 #13
    So you're not talking so much about the actual practice but, more so those natural medications that people are using? Like, herbal remedies? I mean, my cat was prescribed some "chinese green tea leave and honey" tablets post-surgery? Is this kinda the lines you were thinking of?

    FYI, I've also posted a topic discussing ADHD research...thoughts?
     
  15. Mar 11, 2008 #14

    Tsu

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    Yes. Many of our pharmaceuticals are actually made from natural things. Digitalis is made from the foxglove plant. But there are other natural products that have no scientific evidence proving that they actually work (ecchinacea is one of these, I think) and some are completely contraindicated - depending upon what other meds you take. There is a lot of info out there regarding combining traditional meds and natural meds - most of which are warnings.

    ADHD research? Might be VERY interesting. There is probably even more info out there about this topic. But are you saying that research in this area should no longer be pursued? If that's the case, I'd have to disagree. I don't think there is any area of health care that should not be researched.
     
  16. Mar 11, 2008 #15
    No, the ADHD topic isn't related to this. I think it would be too difficult of a subject to defend since it's still very new, and I personally don't think research should be stopped. It's just something I'm wanting some opinions on.
     
  17. Mar 11, 2008 #16

    Tsu

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    Ah. OK. Here's my opinion of ADHD> It sucks. :biggrin:
    (sorry. not much help am I? :biggrin: But I think mgb[GT]-phys might have the right idea... :rofl:)

    mgb: sorry i'm messin' w/ yer username. i saw someone else do it in another thread and i couldn't resist... :biggrin: actually i'm a mg roadster chick myself... :smile:
     
  18. Mar 11, 2008 #17

    turbo

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    Turn it around on them. Attention deficit disorder and asthma may well be caused by the use of fragrance chemicals in air fresheners, scented detergents and fabric softeners etc, that kids are forced to breathe every day. Catch a clue, people! These chemicals are neurological stimulants or depressants and are the same type of compounds that kids "huff" to get high.

    If you want links, Google on EPA, fragrance, etc and you'll find all kinds of links. Here is one:

    http://allnaturalbeauty.us/chemicalsensitivities_jrussell.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  19. Mar 11, 2008 #18

    Tsu

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    Good point, turbo! That's a definite possibility!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
  20. Mar 11, 2008 #19
    I'm beginning to imagine I should take the middle ground and say that no area of health research should be stopped but, rather, certain areas should be focused on more and others less. You think that would come across well in the response and to the readers? I mean, a valid answer to the question is simply; none...thoughts?
     
  21. Mar 11, 2008 #20

    Tsu

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    I think I'm kind of liking the way you're thinking. :smile:
     
  22. Mar 11, 2008 #21

    Tsu

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    Hmmm... Ivan just pointed something out to me. There is a difference between homeopatic medicine and holistic medicine. Now where does alternative medicine fit in? I shall be googling for a while. Don't bother me... :biggrin:
     
  23. Mar 11, 2008 #22

    Tsu

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    The following is from good old wiki

    Homeopathy (also homœopathy or homoeopathy; from the Greek ὅμοιος, hómoios, "similar" + πάθος, páthos, "suffering" or "disease") is a form of alternative medicine first defined by Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century.[1] Homeopathic practitioners contend that an ill person can be treated using a substance that can produce, in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those of the illness. According to homeopaths, serial dilution, with shaking between each dilution, removes the toxic effects of the remedy while the qualities of the substance are retained by the diluent (water, sugar, or alcohol). The end product is often so diluted that materially it is indistinguishable from pure water, sugar or alcohol.[2][3][4] Practitioners select treatments according to a patient consultation that explores the physical and psychological state[5] of the patient, both of which are considered important to selecting the remedy.[6]
    Claims for efficacy of homeopathic treatment beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by scientific and clinical studies.[7][8][9][10]



    Holistic health refers to a philosophy of medical care that views physical and mental aspects of life as closely interconnected and equally important approaches to treatment. While frequently associated with alternative medicine, it is also increasingly used in mainstream medical practice as part of a broad view of patient care.

    Alternative medicine includes practices that differ from conventional medicine. Some alternative medicine practices are homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. A typical definition is "every available approach to healing that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine".[1]



    Alternative medicine practices may be based on unconventional belief systems or philosophies; biological data and observations or biochemical principles;[2] and some may not follow the scientific method. They may incorporate spiritual, metaphysical, or religious underpinnings, untested practices, pre-modern medical traditions, or newly developed approaches to healing. If an alternative medical approach, previously unproven according to orthodox scientific or regulatory methodologies, is subsequently shown to be safe and effective, it may then be adopted by conventional practitioners and no longer considered "alternative".

    "Alternative medicine" is often categorized together with complementary medicine using the umbrella term Complementary and alternative medicine or CAM.

    ******

    So there we go. Now maybe some think that homeopatic medicine should not be pursued. But, at the same time, I'm sure there will be those who disagree. (what a surprise!!) :biggrin:

    You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  24. Mar 12, 2008 #23

    Moonbear

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    Glad you caught the holistic v homeopathic distinction already...I was going to bop you for that one when I read your first post on it in the thread. :biggrin: Holistic medicine is a good idea, homeopathy...well, I don't even like attaching the word "medicine" to it.

    As for naturopathic medicine, yes, I do think we need more research into these "remedies." Whether you think they do anything or not for whatever people think they're taking them for, one should find out about their side effects and contraindications. And, some of them very well might have therapeutic value and proper studies on dose responses, toxicity, etc., should again be done, just as for all the other traditional medicines that have natural sources, because drugs are rarely given in a one-size-fits-all dose, but that is how people take these "herbal remedies."

    rowkem, I like the way you're leaning now, of taking a more contrarian approach to the essay question and standing up for the necessity of all the areas of ongoing research (afterall, if a panel of scientists didn't agree they were promising directions for improving human health, they wouldn't be funded and wouldn't be getting done). I also think it'll show a more independent viewpoint to say none should be stopped than to just make up a bunch of crap you don't believe to answer the question.
     
  25. Mar 12, 2008 #24

    Andy Resnick

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    That's an interesting question to ask applicants... You didn't mention if you are applying for a MD or Ph.D. program, but I wonder what the point of the question is.

    Certainly, you could pick any particular disease and say "X dollars spent, no cure." Or you could, as you say, make a choice due to ethical considerations. Whatever you answer, your answer is not going to convince anyone on the admission committee, because that's definitely NOT the point of the question.

    How about this- it's an open-ended question designed to elicit a thoughtful response. Simple answers based in a dogmatic view of the world (whether ethics, cost-benefit, whatever) are going to be perceived worse than a more nuanced, carefully worded response. In addition, simple answers will likely demonstrate how little you know about whatever subject you are expounding upon.

    I may start asking applicants that question...that's a good one.
     
  26. Mar 12, 2008 #25

    mgb_phys

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    A good question I saw interviewing medical school applicants:
    "Why do you want to be a doctor"? Standard response = "To help people"

    Ok said the professor, become a civil engineer, how many more lives have sewers and clean water saved than doctors!
     
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