From Medicine to Big History

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2013 2:36 AM
    Message # 1391142

               Big History From a Physician’s Perspective 

    This replaces my previous post entitled From Medicine to Big History.  In it I attempted to introduce my formal field of training in Medicine to Big History in light of my recent introduction to Big History and the impact it has had.

    I want to make the reader aware that some intersection of these disciplines already exists in some important ways in the field of Evolutionary Medicine, which is a subject not covered in typical medical training, and not in my training.  However, I have come to learn that Evolutionary medicine is already a robust field from which there are lessons that take something like a Big History approach, and in which there already accomplished scholars.  The work they've done is not for me to replicate.  To the interested reader I commend evolutionary medicine efforts, and welcome any discussion.

    Last modified: Saturday, September 28, 2013 10:35 AM | Anonymous
    Moved from IBHA Discussions: Thursday, April 20, 2017 7:50 PM
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2013 3:09 AM
    Reply # 1392015 on 1391142
    Lowell Gustafson (Administrator)
    Thanks John.  I have team taught my Big History course with a pathologist, Michael Zimmerman, a number of times.  Later in life, he also earned a PhD in Physical Anthropology and became interested in ancient pathologies, doing autopsies of mummies.  He had an article in Nature on this.  I very much enjoyed getting to teach this course with a medical doctor who saw the connections between his field and the entire course of time.  I look forward to how you develop this.

    Nature Reviews Cancer 11, 76 (January 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrc2914-c3

    A. Rosalie David
    Michael R. Zimmerman
    Cancer is an ancient disease?

    A. Rosalie David & Michael R. Zimmerman
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2013 3:33 AM
    Reply # 1392033 on 1391142
    Dear John,

    Thank you for your post. 

    Our elective big history course at the University of Amsterdam attracts dozens of medicine students each year who apparently think big history is important for them personally and/or for their field of study. I've never talked to them about their reasons for choosing big history (the course is quite big and usually followed by about 250 students), but your post made me think I should: it would be interesting to see what this future generation of doctors thinks about synthesis and the possible role of big history as a tool to achieve this.

    Kind regards,
    Esther Quaedackers

  • Wednesday, June 24, 2015 7:39 PM
    Reply # 3403147 on 1391142

    I'm a big fan of evolutionary medicine and Randy Nesse in particular. I think looking at medical situations from an evolutionary perspective is enlightening, sometimes revolutionary, and this approach can be extended into psychiatry. I think many times medicine and psychiatry have labeled some things as malfunctions when they're actually nature's solution to a deeper, hidden problem the brain or body is silently struggling to resolve. For example, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, coughing, pain, fatigue, fear, guilt, shame, anger, are all things that evolved to protect us from some sort of harm. Nothing in medicine makes sense except in the light of evolution.