Me medicine vs. we medicine : reclaiming biotechnology for the common good

by Dickenson, Donna,

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction RA427.25.D53 2013x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  RA427.25.D53 2013x
Personalized healthcare--or what the award-winning author Donna Dickenson calls "Me Medicine"--is radically transforming our longstanding "one-size-fits-all" model. Technologies such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing, pharmacogenetically developed therapies in cancer care, private umbilical cord blood banking, and neurocognitive enhancement claim to cater to an individual's specific biological character, and, in some cases, these technologies have shown powerful potential. Yet in others they have produced negligible or even negative results. Whatever is behind the rise of Me Medicine, it isn't just science. So why is Me Medicine rapidly edging out We Medicine, and how has our commitment to our collective health suffered as a result?

In her cogent, provocative analysis, Dickenson examines the economic and political factors fueling the Me Medicine phenomenon and explores how, over time, this paradigm shift in how we approach our health might damage our individual and collective well-being. Historically, the measures of "We Medicine," such as vaccination and investment in public-health infrastructure, have radically extended our life spans, and Dickenson argues we've lost sight of that truth in our enthusiasm for "Me Medicine."

Dickenson explores how personalized medicine illustrates capitalism's protean capacity for creating new products and markets where none existed before--and how this, rather than scientific plausibility, goes a long way toward explaining private umbilical cord blood banks and retail genetics. Drawing on the latest findings from leading scientists, social scientists, and political analysts, she critically examines four possible hypotheses driving our Me Medicine moment: a growing sense of threat; a wave of patient narcissism; corporate interests driving new niche markets; and the dominance of personal choice as a cultural value. She concludes with insights from political theory that emphasize a conception of the commons and the steps we can take to restore its value to modern biotechnology.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: ""Personalized medicine" is less about scientific progress than society's obsession with the self, argues University of London ethics professor Dickenson (Body Shopping). She admits that certain strategies might allow doctors to prescribe more suitable treatment: as opposed to the "scorched-earth campaigns" often implemented to cure cancer patients, it's possible that genetic fingerprinting would enable physicians to tailor treatments and curb the possibility of adverse side effects. On the whole, however, Dickenson warns that this trend may trail a host of unwanted consequences. Her investigation of private vs. public umbilical cord blood banking, for example,-where cells from an umbilical cord are stored either privately, to be used by that baby or by his or her family in the future, or publically, to be used by anyone in need and whose blood type matches that of the stored cells-leads into a discussion of bloodthirsty pharmaceutical companies using marketing-speak to convince mothers to hand over their babies' blood, which the corporations then trade internationally for beaucoup bucks. As in any good ethical debate, there are convincing arguments to be made for both sides, and Dickenson entertains them. Whether readers side with "Me Medicine" or "We Medicine" is almost beside the point-Dickenson's mapping of this vital fork in the road is valuable. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Medicine, Preventive -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Patient-centered health care -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Biotechnology -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Publisher New York :Columbia University Press,2013
Other Titles Me medicine versus we medicine
Language English
Description xi, 278 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [227]-261) and index.
ISBN 9780231159746 (cloth : alk. paper)
0231159749 (cloth : alk. paper)
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