June 30, 2021

Emancipatory public health

NEW PANDEMICS, OLD POLITICS. Two Hundred Years of War on Disease and its Alternatives

Three selected paragraphs from the last chapter (the most interesting one):  

Experts in infectious diseases had been worried about the radical uncertainties of a new pathogen. It turned out that the science had so improved in the years since SARS that the uncertainties were well within the scope of the anticipated. The radical uncertainty was in the politics – something that none of the experts had thought to anticipate. SARS-CoV-2 is a politically sophisticated pathogen, whose impact lies more in what it does to the body politic than what it does to the human body. The politics of response to Covid-19 was a disorienting combination. The political right invited popular debate on public health expertise, in pursuit of its new-found agenda of disrupting institutions. In the name of free-thinking, agitators veered into pseudo-science and conspiracy theories. Liberals and the left valorized scientists and rushed to embrace a standardized set of suppression measures. Lockdowns were over-engineered and had momentous social and economic consequences; some critics detected authoritarian longings.

 Could Covid-19 become what Ulrich Beck called an ‘emancipatory catastrophe’?35 If so, what would be a new, emancipatory narrative for what we do about pandemic diseases, actual and threatened? I suggest that we begin with a return to a word introduced in chapter 1, and left waiting in the wings: ‘pandemy’. As our leading scientists insist, pandemic disease is too important to be left to the biomedical establishment. It’s a crisis in our way of life. In using the word ‘pandemy’, we can reclaim the concept of a holistic disruption, reaching backwards into the ecological, social, and health pathologies that have created virulent pathogens with pandemic potential, broadening to include other illnesses prevalent at the same time, and reaching forward into wider societal and political repercussions. In short, we can integrate the ‘One Health’ approach to where these diseases come from with the ‘people’s science’ practice of responding to them.

 Emancipatory public health begins with a conversation on this whole-of-society, whole-planet, ‘One Health’, democratic, and participatory agenda. The starting point is not the content of the policies but the process for getting to them. Those who are most vulnerable and most excluded will have some of the most important things to say. This means dismantling the ‘war on disease’ mindset and its politics, assembled over the last two centuries. If we do this, Covid-19 may yet be the emancipatory catastrophe we need.


June 17, 2021

Opioid prescription in Catalonia

Sistema d'Informació sobre Drogodependències de Catalunya

You'll find these information in p.152 of the report:

In Catalonia, Fentanyl consumption has risen 24% in 5 years, in daily dose per inhabitant, while Tapentadol has jumped 300%!!!

Somebody should understand why it is this so and take some action.

June 14, 2021

June 4, 2021

Patients and AI

 Artificial intelligence, bias, and patients’ perspectives

By Topol et al. in Lancet

By training algorithms to predict labels related to clinical outcomes, rather than doctors’ judgments, we can start to push forward a new kind of clinical science. For example, by grounding patient reports of pain in objective radiographic features, we might develop a more comprehensive understanding of what causes pain. By not being doctor-centric and incorporating the patient’s perspective, machine learning has added potential for unravelling important mysteries of medicine.

 Garry Winnogard at KBR

June 3, 2021

Preventing alcohol abuse

 The effect of COVID-19on alcohol consumption, and policy responses to prevent harmful alcohol consumption

Harmful alcohol consumption damages health, causes diseases and injuries, weakens response to COVID-19,and leads to significant economic and societal costs. Comprehensive policy packages built on a PPPP approach including Pricing policies, Policing to counter drink-driving, Primary care-based counselling for heavy drinkers, and regulating alcohol Promotion activities, improve health, and support a stronger economic and social recovery in the aftermath of thepandemic.


June 1, 2021

AI in healthcare

 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Healthcare

A useful guide about the current situation of AI in healthcare,