A medical revolution?

I’ve always been skeptical of claims to revolutions in science and technology. Thomas Kuhn actually made a great disservice to historical awareness among scientists and to science communication with his 1962 bestseller The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Every now and then a new finding is described as a ‘revolution’ in science, technology or medicine — despite the fact that it it almost always more of the same, rather than revolutionary.

Therefore I don’t like the title of the two-part video ‘Medical Revolution’ — about personalized medicine — which was awarded with two gold medals at the New York Festivals’ International Film & Video Awards 2008.

‘Medical Revolution — From Molecule to Medicine’ schematically shows how pharmaceutical companies develop new medicines and addresses questions like why it takes so long time to develop a new drug. See it here.

‘Medical Revolution — The Future’ is about body scans, DNA arrays and personalized medicine. See it here.

It was selected as ‘World’s best work 2007’ in two categories, viz., ‘Health/Medical Issues’ and ‘Health Care Professional Education’. It’s very professional and smooth, but too overly pedagogical for my taste. Why are these videos accompanied by a voice that sounds like he/she is teaching us how to drive a car or operate an automatic bread toaster? I mean, if they REALLY mean ‘revolution’ seriously, I would expect a somewhat more excited speaker — a shrill voice, even an hysterical laughter, whatever — but not this clinical didactic monotony. The voice betrays the claim for revolution.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

More posts by Thomas Söderqvist