Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999


1.2 Current Medical Practice

In order to fully appreciate the changes that nanomedicine will inevitably bring, it is useful first to review the history and development of current medical practice. As Winston Churchill once remarked: "The further backward you look, the further forward you can see." The author unapologetically favors what medical anthropologists would regard as the "Western" healing tradition. The great medical theorist Otto E. Guttentag2234 agreed: "Contemporary Western medicine involves a type of healing that potentially and actually exceeds all other approaches in maintaining that optimal status of selfhood we call being healthy and in eliminating that reduced status of selfhood we call being sick."

After summarizing the history of scientific medicine and placing nanomedicine in its proper historical context (Section 1.2.1), we define exactly what is meant by "medicine" and present a new model for "disease" (Section 1.2.2). The modern medical treatment methodology is examined in light of the changes that will be wrought by nanomedicine (Section 1.2.3), and this is followed by a discussion of several important issues in the evolution of medical bedside practice (Section 1.2.4) and the changing view of the human body (Section 1.2.5).

Many fascinating and important practical issues such as medical privacy rights, patient compliance, medical ethics and bioethics per se, nursing, the role of medical bureaucracies in the doctor-patient interaction, and the question of medical causality2230 are not addressed here or are deferred to Chapter 31.


Last updated on 5 February 2003