By Kiheung Kim

A old exploration of medical disputes at the causation of so-called ‘prion diseases’, this interesting publication covers illnesses together with Scrapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob affliction (CJD) and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). to start with tracing the twentieth-century heritage of illness learn and biomedicine, the textual content then specializes in the family among clinical perform and wider social variations, prior to eventually construction upon the sociologically knowledgeable methodological framework. Incisive and thought-provoking, The Social development of illness offers a important contribution to that well-established culture of social heritage of technology, which refers basically to the theoretical works of the sociology of medical wisdom.

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Additional info for The Social Construction of Disease (Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology & Medicine)

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However, Dickinson had a different research aim from the others: he preferred to use pathological and genetic techniques to investigate the ways in which the disease developed and progressed in infected organisms. Dickinson was fascinated by the fact that the incubation period of scrapie could vary considerably from one individual of a given species to another. As a geneticist, he was particularly interested in the possibility that this might be due at least in part to variations in the genetic constitutions of the infected animals.

The disease in Wiltshire went under the name of ‘goggles’, and several authors identified the goggles with the rickets in Lincolnshire. An anonymous writer, a Gentleman in Wiltshire, wrote clinical and pathological descriptions of the goggles in his letter to the Bath and West of England Society: Gentlemen, Within these few years, we have had a disease among the sheep, now generally known by the name of the goggles; a disease which has destroyed some in every flock round this county, and made great havock in many.

As we have seen, since a scrapie-like disease was reported in the eighteenth century, many writers speculated that it might be caused by genetic problems, though their number declined in the wake of the mid-nineteenth century interest in infectious disease. However, during the early years of the twentieth century, in view of the failure to isolate a viral agent, and of the anomalous properties of the hypothetical infectious agent, some scientists were now reconsidering the possibility that scrapie was indeed caused by a genetic defect.

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