The Snow Queen

Heart of Medicine

Crusoe and Hans grew up together. Crusoe’s father encouraged her to believe she could do anything she put her mind to. Han’s father, Peter, was a story-teller who delighted both children with his stories, especially during the long evenings at the onset of Winter. He told them about the Microbe Hunters who discovered the causes of diseases and laid the basis for new cures. But their favourite … [Read more...]

The Medicine Maker

Editorial Note: This is based on the Finnish National Epic, the Kalevala. The image comes from the series painted by Axel Gallen to illustrate the Kalevala. Crusoe spent years trying to make a Medicine Maker. She was finally successful at the end of a long Winter just as the first signs of growth appeared on the trees. Everyone for miles around came when they heard the news. People with oozing … [Read more...]

Medystopia

Editorial Note: Crusoe has not been lying low since The Shipwreck of the Singular and The Girl who Wasn't Heard When She Cried Wolf. Check these out for previous Crusoe posts. The AbbVie story calls for a decent myth. Here is a start. Sink all Vaccines to the Bottom of the Sea? Crusoe was listening to Oliver give out. "They called me yesterday evening", he said, "to tell me about the vaccination … [Read more...]

The girl who was not heard when she cried wolf

Crusoe was called to see Lisbeth. The girl - young woman was mute and catatonic by day but after she fell asleep she had nightmares when she wailed piteously, rent her nightdress, walked in her sleep muttering ‘the children, the children’ or other such phrases. It was a similar pattern each night, the parents said. The dreams seemed to repeat. Crusoe came in the evening when the room was dark … [Read more...]

The Shipwreck of the Singular

Crusoe’s first appearance was in The Creation of Psychopharmacology, where in recognition of the tensions inherent in medicine between the numerous who enter clinical trials and the single person being treated by a doctor, the book opened with a quote from George Oppen’s Of Being Numerous, in which he notes that: “Crusoe we say was rescued”. Since Oppen wrote these lines, the idea of the … [Read more...]

The Data Access Wars

This is the first of three Crusoe posts. For background on Crusoe, see Watch where you wave that wand, The Oedipus Effect, The Tree must go. Beta Centauri was unquestionably a long way from Massachusetts. Somewhat to her surprise Crusoe found breathing no problem, and the temperature seemed just about right. The scenery as they’d come in was not unlike that of a temperate zone on … [Read more...]

The tree must go

Crusoe had a chance to view the new facility - the brainchild of one of the world’s wealthiest men, who had made his name in a race to sequence the genetic code. He had famously used his own DNA in the process. He later went on to create synthetic life and it was from synthetic biology He made his fortune. The inspiration to recreate Eden came from watching an old movie, The Truman Show, in … [Read more...]

The Oedipus Effect

Crusoe was called to see the woman. It all began she said when on the way home after a successful board meeting, taking shelter from a sudden downpour, he stepped into an empty building. There he saw something. Perhaps it was the nutmeg with the meal or the mushrooms that did it. A bunch of children, he said, sitting looking at a stockmarket ticker tape. Many of them appeared limbless, had cleft … [Read more...]

One Script to Rule them all

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish portrayed doctors in a rather flattering light – the victims of a tragedy. They were portrayed as losing out in a Faustian bargain when they failed to realize the hazards in making all new drugs available on prescription only. The bargain offered them a chance to entrench themselves inescapably in healthcare as the only legal source of all treatments that worked … [Read more...]

May Fools’ Day

Following the long-standing tradition, dating back at least to Chaucer, of playing practical jokes on May 1, The Scientist clearly thought it would be a good idea to show the outside world that science doesn’t always have to be stuffy and picked the appropriate day to demonstrate the point (http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/01/data-diving/). May Fools' Day Joke Sadly, the joke has gone unnoticed, … [Read more...]

If Pharma made cars

If Pharma made cars, the seat-belt warning signs would be removed, and the beeping noise if you moved without a seat-belt on would be silenced, as the start of a gradual process that would result in seat-belts being removed or made non-functional. The safety-bags would be removed or made ornamental. The car would be turbo-charged. The accelerator would be re-engineered so that the only options … [Read more...]

Watch where you wave that wand

It was a white wand — the kind a little girl might have. White ribbon wound round a long straw, at the top of which a double pair of white wings was set. Another more delicate white ribbon looped around the wings, to the front of which was fixed a downy feather, and behind which the ribbon was tied in a bow. Crusoe was facing her most difficult patient. A man with manic-depressive illness who, … [Read more...]

Randomized God

Several controlled clinical trials have recently been reported in which patients with cardiac conditions who were prayed for appeared to do better than those not prayed for (1, 2, 3). The surprise that prayer seems to do something has to be matched by surprise at the fact that its effects are relatively weak. If we are to build on this, we need to work out are these weak effects mediated through … [Read more...]