Tackling the social roots of health inequities"Throughout the world, people who are vulnerable and socially disadvantaged have less access to health resources, get sicker, and die earlier than people in more privileged social positions," say Alec Irwin and colleagues from the World Health Organization (WHO). Ministries of health, they say, cannot transform social conditions single-handedly, but the health sector can take the lead in advancing an approach to health policy that incorporates actions on the social determinants of health across government departments and wider society. Irwin and colleagues discuss why the WHO has created the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which aims to strengthen health equity by "catalyzing policy and institutional change to address the social determinants of health within countries, among institutions working in global health, and within WHO itself."
Citation: Irwin A, Valentine N, Brown C, Loewenson R, Solar O, et al. (2006) The Commission on Social Determinants of Health: Tackling the social roots of health inequities. PLoS Med 3(6): e106.
PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030106
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-06-irwin.pdf
World Health Organization
Department of Equity, Poverty, and Social Determinants of Health
Geneva, CH-1211, Switzerland
+41 22 791 49 09
The Limits of Reductionism in Medicine: Does Systems Biology Offer an Alternative?
"Reductionism pervades the medical sciences and affects the way we diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases," say Andrew Ahn (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues. While reductionism--the idea that complex problems are solvable by dividing them into smaller, simpler units--has been responsible for tremendous successes in modern medicine, say the authors, there are limits to reductionism, and an alternative explanation must be sought to complement it.
An alternative approach that has received much recent attention, they say, is the systems perspective, exemplified by systems biology. "Rather than dividing a complex problem into its component parts," say the authors, "the systems perspective appreciates the holistic and composite characteristics of a problem and evaluates the problem with the use of computational and mathematical tools. The systems perspective is rooted in the assumption that the forest cannot be explained by studying the trees individually." In two linked articles in PLoS Medicine, Ahn and colleagues examine how a systems approach could be valuable for clinical medicine.
Citation: Ahn AC, Tewari M, Poon CS, Phillips RS (2006) The limits of reductionism in medicine: Could systems biology offer an alternative? PLoS Med 3(6): e208.
PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030208
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-06-ahn.pdf
Related PLoS Medicine Essay:
Citation: Ahn AC, Tewari M, Poon CS, Phillips RS (2006) The clinical applications of a systems approach. PLoS Med 3(7): e209.
PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030209
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-07-ahn.pdf
Harvard Medical School
Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies
401 Park Drive Suite 22A-West
Boston, MA 02215, United States of America
PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS MEDICINE (www.plosmedicine.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY-AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.
All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.
About PLoS Medicine
PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.