The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging

Princeton University Press
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Due to rapidly aging populations, the number of people worldwide experiencing dementia is increasing, and the projections are grim. Despite billions of dollars invested in medical research, no effective treatment has been discovered for Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. The Alzheimer Conundrum exposes the predicaments embedded in current efforts to slow down or halt Alzheimer’s disease through early detection of pre-symptomatic biological changes in healthy individuals.

Based on a meticulous account of the history of Alzheimer’s disease and extensive in-depth interviews, Margaret Lock highlights the limitations and the dissent associated with biomarker detection. Lock argues that basic research must continue, but should be complemented by a public health approach to prevention that is economically feasible, more humane, and much more effective globally than one exclusively focused on an increasingly harried search for a cure.

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About the author

Margaret Lock is the Marjorie Bronfman Professor Emerita in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology at McGill University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 27, 2013
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Pages
328
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ISBN
9781400848461
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Language
English
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Genres
Health & Fitness / Diseases / Alzheimer's & Dementia
Medical / General
Science / History
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Physical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Tales about organ transplants appear in mythology and folk stories, and surface in documents from medieval times, but only during the past twenty years has medical knowledge and technology been sufficiently advanced for surgeons to perform thousands of transplants each year. In the majority of cases individuals diagnosed as "brain dead" are the source of the organs without which transplants could not take place. In this compelling and provocative examination, Margaret Lock traces the discourse over the past thirty years that contributed to the locating of a new criterion of death in the brain, and its routinization in clinical practice in North America. She compares this situation with that in Japan where, despite the availability of the necessary technology and expertise, brain death was legally recognized only in 1997, and then under limited and contested circumstances. Twice Dead explores the cultural, historical, political, and clinical reasons for the ready acceptance of the new criterion of death in North America and its rejection, until recently, in Japan, with the result that organ transplantation has been severely restricted in that country. This incisive and timely discussion demonstrates that death is not self-evident, that the space between life and death is historically and culturally constructed, fluid, multiple, and open to dispute.

In addition to an analysis of that professional literature on and popular representations of the subject, Lock draws on extensive interviews conducted over ten years with physicians working in intensive care units, transplant surgeons, organ recipients, donor families, members of the general public in both Japan and North America, and political activists in Japan opposed to the recognition of brain death. By showing that death can never be understood merely as a biological event, and that cultural, medical, legal, and political dimensions are inevitably implicated in the invention of brain death, Twice Dead confronts one of the most troubling questions of our era.
In this fully revised and updated second edition of An Anthropology of Biomedicine, authors Lock and Nguyen introduce biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics. Drawing on historical and ethnographic work, the book critiques the assumption made by the biological sciences of a universal human body that can be uniformly standardized. It focuses on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies brings about radical changes to societies at large based on socioeconomic inequalities and ethical disputes, and develops and integrates the theory that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity.

This second edition includes new chapters on: microbiology and the microbiome; global health; and, the self as a socio-technical system. In addition, all chapters have been comprehensively revised to take account of developments from within this fast-paced field, in the intervening years between publications. References and figures have also been updated throughout.

This highly-regarded and award-winning textbook (Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology) retains the character and features of the previous edition. Its coverage remains broad, including discussion of: biomedical technologies in practice; anthropologies of medicine; biology and human experiments; infertility and assisted reproduction; genomics, epigenomics, and uncertain futures; and molecularizing racial difference, ensuring it remains the essential text for students of anthropology, medical anthropology as well as public and global health.

In this fully revised and updated second edition of An Anthropology of Biomedicine, authors Lock and Nguyen introduce biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics. Drawing on historical and ethnographic work, the book critiques the assumption made by the biological sciences of a universal human body that can be uniformly standardized. It focuses on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies brings about radical changes to societies at large based on socioeconomic inequalities and ethical disputes, and develops and integrates the theory that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity.

This second edition includes new chapters on: microbiology and the microbiome; global health; and, the self as a socio-technical system. In addition, all chapters have been comprehensively revised to take account of developments from within this fast-paced field, in the intervening years between publications. References and figures have also been updated throughout.

This highly-regarded and award-winning textbook (Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology) retains the character and features of the previous edition. Its coverage remains broad, including discussion of: biomedical technologies in practice; anthropologies of medicine; biology and human experiments; infertility and assisted reproduction; genomics, epigenomics, and uncertain futures; and molecularizing racial difference, ensuring it remains the essential text for students of anthropology, medical anthropology as well as public and global health.

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