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Tick(box)-borne disease.

I was going to tell you about the study (DPP) which ten years on shows diabetes Type 2 incidence is reduced by 58% through lifestyle intervention (physical activity.). Also about the excitement caused by a study which shows magic mushroom (Psilocybin) reducing anxiety and depression in 80% of folk receiving a single dose. Also about the study of thumb-suckers and nail-biters (hygiene hypothesis) comparing Amish v Hutterite communities in the US. The ‘dirtier’, less modern community had fewer allergies.

However, that was all knocked into a tin hat by a marvellous letter in our esteemed British Medical Journal (BMJ 2016;355:i6309) from a Judith Harvey. It refers to an earlier discussion about the rift between evidence and humanity in┬ámedicine. “We are all a mixture of qualities, positioned differently on thousands of spectrums. Attempts to force human experience into a straitjacket are built into medical education: MCQ exam papers are easy to mark but give the candidate no opportunity to demonstrate how knowledge can be applied with humanity. A complex society cannot function without categories, but a humane society recognises life cannot be reduced to tick boxes.” Aye to that!

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