Why fighting disease is hard

Without a doubt, medicine has made tremendous gains over the last decades and even more progress when viewed across centuries.  Often to treat diseases, physicians and researchers identify a single or primary pathway that is causing the disease.  Maybe there is a gene mutation which causes an abnormality.  Maybe there is a bacteria or virus…

Books to read

Andrew Soloman has an outstanding article the Guardian discussing the intersection of literature and medicine.  He his article about literature on medicine saying saying: Medicine can contribute to literature; narrative practice can strengthen medicine. It behoves writers and doctors to learn each other’s fluencies, because their disparate approaches can add up to singular truths. Of particular…

Infectious Disease: Themes

An interesting post by Nicolas Bagley at the Incidental Economist provides a brief overview of a class he taught on infectious diseases and the law.  Looking at diseases ranging from cholera, Spanish flu, polio, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola, Bagley claims that ten key themes emerged: Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps…

The cause of drug violence

According to one former police officer, the effect of drugs themselves are not the main cause of violence: …drug users aren’t responsible for violence–high people just want to enjoy their high.  Drug violence is business violence….the largest causes of drug murders are territorial disputes over market share.  If no one will help you defend your property–you can’t trademark…

History Repeating Itself.

“First, you push on your territories, where you have no business to be, and where you had promised not to go; secondly, your intrusion provokes resentment, and resentment means resistance.  Thirdly, you instantly cry out that the people are rebellious and their act is rebellion…Fourthly, you send out a force to stamp out rebellion; and…

Book Review: Priceless

I recently read a very interesting book by John Goodman titled “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis“. Whereas President Obama’s Health Reform plan focuses on increasing access to medical services by expanding the government’s role in the medical marketplace, Goodman advocates reducing regulation and adding flexibility to the health insurance and medical markets. The book is…

The Soviet Union and Plato’s Republic

“Baggy two-piece suits are not the obvious costume for philosopher kings: but that, in theory, was what the apparatchiks who rule the Soviet Union in the 1960s were supposed to be. Lenin’s state made the same bet that Plato had twenty-five centuries earlier, when he proposed that enlightened intelligence gives absolute powers would serve the…