PhD in Medical Science For Further Exploration

In the event you have earned yourself a medical degree and found that your calling may lie in a path apart from the conventional one, perhaps obtaining an interdisciplinary program such as a PhD in Medical Science may fill that yearning. Although the apparent part of healthcare delivery is the service of patients, research work in laboratories are also significant in ensuring cutting-edge technologies are developed to tackle present issues. Since research plays a significant part of medical science, most of the postgraduate students seek employment from governmental and large organizations focused on healthcare technologies. These entities are able to provide necessary funding and facilities for research work, as well as exert positive influence in the healthcare community.

To participate in the program for a PhD in Medical Science, candidates are expected to have prior background and understanding of the human subject. As such, candidates who have studied human anatomy, from molecular to cellular levels including the various systems, fare better. Although it deals mainly with the science of medicine, the vast amount of research work requires the candidates to have strong mathematical background to crunch the numbers. Upon graduation, candidates are not doomed to a lifetime in laboratories as careers can be built in the academic world and operational environments such as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Offering one’s services as consultants are also options to look into once one has gained a certain level of prominence within the medical research community.

Some academic institutions offer these doctorate degrees as interdisciplinary programs, working in collaboration with the faculties of arts and sciences. Since medical science resolves around investigatory work into the field of medicine, applying knowledge and viewpoints from other aspects are beneficial in deriving solid research material. These doctorate programs normally focus on areas most relevant to the human health. As part of arresting the onslaught of certain diseases, infection and immunity are significant areas of interest whereas prevention can perhaps be addressed by better nutrition. Although some diseases strike without cause, inherent trends based on genetics may cause one to be more prone to the disease.

Pitfalls of Modern Medical Science (3) – Isolationism

Modern medical science concentrates on searching for internal causes of illnesses such as germs and viruses inside the human body. Most of medical researchers and practitioners do not care about the natural and social environments surrounding an individual person and patient, because they think that the causes of illnesses and diseases are only reducible to smaller parts of the body. In establishing such a micro kind of causality, they isolate the human body from the environment for medical examinations and tests, and for disease diagnoses and treatments. Isolationism is a natural result of reductionism in medical studies.

In isolationism, humans and environment are assumed to have clear-cut boundaries. For example, psychoanalytical theory regards anxiety disorders as a purely mental problem rooted in our unconsciousness. Cognitive-behavioural theory refers to anxiety disorders as a mental issue related to misperceived information, or a simple problem of unreasonable thought. In both theories, anxiety disorders are understood as purely mental issues, unrelated to what surrounds the body/mind. Following those assumptions, the treatment for anxiety disorders sounds easy. Some mental activities and thinking patterns simply need to be rectified, such as uncovering our unconscious conflicts and changing irrational thoughts. On the other hand, biological theory states that anxiety disorders are not related to our mind and thinking, but a problem with the deficiency of brain chemistry. If certain brain chemistries are altered through the interference of medications, the symptoms of anxiety disorders can be removed.

In all the cases, modern medical science tends to cut the linkage between the mind/body conditions and the environment surrounding the body. While laboratory experiments and tests are popular in modern medical research, the human bodies are treated as material objects in a vacuum, a natural vacuum as well as a social vacuum.

The problem with this conventional assumption is obvious. Our human beings are living organisms and our lives are completely relied on the natural environment that supplies the air for our breathing, water and food for our nutrition, etc. Without those essential elements from the environment, life is impossible. Therefore, it is logically arguable that our human beings are part of nature. We are a sub-system of the entire universe system and we are interrelated and interconnected with other parts in the universe. What happens in the environment will inevitably affect our human beings. The famous metaphor of ‘butterfly effect’ in chaos theory (in later modern science) tells us that the motion of a butterfly’s wings in Japan can change the climate of the United States a few days later, and can affect the entire universe in principle, though we may not notice it. Therefore, the natural environment always conditions our human beings. The quality and wellbeing of our lives and the health of our bodies and minds are fundamentally related to the natural environment and subject to the patterns and laws of nature.

Furthermore, human beings are social animals. We are living in a community, in a society, and in the social world. While they can significantly affect our minds, social interactions can affect our bodies as well, as the mind and the body are inseparable. The illnesses of stress and anxiety could a typical case in here, where various social pressures play an important role in such illnesses.

Given that medical isolationism is proven to be flawed, more attention needs to be paid to the natural and social environments in understanding our health and illness. That means that any illness should not only be examined from inside the body, but also be examined from outside the body. The environmental factors such as environmental pollutions, toxic-contaminated elements, social pressures, and life styles should receive more consideration in medical studies.