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The Limits of Medicine

How Science Shapes Our Hope for the Cure

Edward Golub, distinguished researcher and former professor of immunology, shows that
major advances in medicine are caused by changes in the way scientists describe disease.
Bleeding, sweating, and other treatments we consider barbaric were standard treatments for
centuries because they conformed to a conception of disease shared by patients and doctors.
Scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of disease in the nineteenth century transformed
treatment and the goals of medicine. Golub argues that the ongoing revolution in molecular
genetics has opened the door to the "biology of complexity," again transforming our view of
disease. This thought-provoking, timely book reveals a crucial but overlooked role of science
in medicine, and offers a new vision for the goals of both science and medicine as we enter the
twenty-first century.

272 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1994


Table of Contents

A Few Important Words to the Reader
Introduction: Framing Health and Disease
Pt. I: Reframing the External World
1: The Constant Presence of Death
2: La Longue duree
3: The Seeds of Change
4: "Pasteur" and the Authority of Science
5: Rewriting History: The Triumph of Science
Pt. II: Reframing the Internal World
6: "Never to Die of a Disease in the Future"
7: Reframing the Internal World
8: Magic Bullets and the New Paradigm of Medicine
9: The Therapeutic Revolution
Pt. III: Framing the Future
10: Reshaping the Goals of Medicine in the Era of Chronic Diseases
Finale: Changing the Metaphor
Readings and Notes

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