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Another name for tropical medicine??

Tue Nov 7 16:39:58 EST 1995

> On 2 Nov 1995, Stephen G. Kayes wrote:
> >   I am not very good at this sort of thing but are you looking for 
> > the term "geographic Medicine".  I never thought that that was a 
> > particularly useful term but many places have departments of same.
> > 
>     Geographic medicine has the advantage of defining the domain of 
> inquiry as the study of diseases and health effects on a global scale 
> without being limited to diseases associated with tropical 
> lattitudes (e.g. malaria, schisto, dengue, etc.).  Thus, its possible to 
> discuss the zoonotic implications of echinoccosis as it relates to sheep 
> husbandry, or a caribou-sled dog association with humans, toxocarosis as 
> a problem of lg stray and companion animal populations in urban 
> settings, as well as the traditional topics in tropical medicine in a 
> single course.  I think the Trop Med label is a somewhat dated label 
> derived from the colonialism of the 19th century. Geographic medicine, on the
> other hand reflects our increasing awareness and concern with the study of 
> health and disease in a global community. Just a thought.

I find geographic a superfluous term when applied to medicine. 
Presumeably disease or lack of health reflects an imbalance in some 
some aspect of the host/agent/environment interaction and it would 
seem that the term geographic tends to emphasize the latter 
component. Not such a bad thing maybe in today's world of 
reductionist/sequenced logic, but on the other hand perhaps it's just 
another unnecessary word. I can think of very few diseases that DONT 
have a geographic component. Terms such as tropical, zoonotic etc 
attempt to define (some more clearly than others) a subspeciality 
within that. Also I am all for simplicity.

    Robin McFarlane,
    Principal Research Officer,
    Animal and Veterinary Science Group, 
    Lincoln University,
    Phone: 64-03-3252811 (ext 8176), Fax: 64-03-3253851
    e mail:mcfarlan at lincoln.ac.nz

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