Saturday, 17 March 2007

What's the point?

Another review, this time in the Financial Times. Caroline Davies seems to be genuinely interested in the book's ideas, but shows some frustration that the pay-off isn't clear.
But perhaps the most worrying issue that the book does not resolve is how patients actually benefit from having the mind-body roots of their illness exposed. The practical difference these intellectual and psychological breakthroughs could make to the progress of an individual illness is never fully explained.
Perhaps it's as well that she's not in charge of astronomy funding, if intellectual curiosity alone does not suffice. But in the case of health provision, our concerns, as potential patients and tax payers, about waiting times and spiralling budgets make this impatience for practical consequences understandable.

For large number of patients the 'complaint' with which they address their doctor is just that, a complaint about their lives. Treating it as such should lead to a faster resolution of their problems and avoid unnecessary interventions. This seems to be better addressed in Germany, where Michael Balint made a much more pronounced iompact than in the UK.

But in our book we wanted to consider all forms of illness, including chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. What would be fascinating would be to push on with treatments for such conditions, integrating orthodox measures with mind-body considerations. In view of the much poorer prognosis for depressed patients, joint interventions for their mental condition and their chronic condition, which have shown promising effects in many studies, should be enormously expanded.

Ultimately mind-body considerations point to more radical measures at the societal level. But here we face a condundrum - how to reproduce the Roseto effect?


jefferson said...


I read this review in the FT, and couldn't believe that this David Corfield ("psychologist") was the same one who answered my questions on the philosophy of mathematics back in 2005, when I was researching for my dissertation. Good luck with this and future ventures.


david said...


Nice of you to drop by.

Yes, reviewers have called me a number of things. One has to be versatile these days.