Matching Items (31)

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Timeline of Changes in Mammography Guidelines in the United States

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Background: Breast cancer affects about 12% of women in the US. Arguably, it is one of the most advertised cancers. Mammography became a popular tool of breast cancer screening in

Background: Breast cancer affects about 12% of women in the US. Arguably, it is one of the most advertised cancers. Mammography became a popular tool of breast cancer screening in the 1970s, and patient-geared guidelines came from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the US Preventative Task Force (USPSTF). This research focuses on ACS guidelines, as they were the earliest as well as the most changed guidelines. Mammography guidelines changed over time due to multiple factors. This research has tracked possible causes of those changes. Methods: Research began with an extensive literature search of clinical trials, the New York Times and the Washington Post archives, systematic reviews, ACS and USPSTF archives. Results and Discussion: ACS was the first organization to provide easily accessible patient geared mammography guidelines. The guidelines have changed six times since 1976. The first came after a large clinical trial, which screened 60,000 women and showed that mammography use decreased breast cancer deaths by 30%. During the 1980s and 1990s, anti-cancer lobbyists and health insurance companies were in conflict, as the former pushed for more frequent mammography screening while the latter pushed for less. The USPSTF published their first guidelines in 2002, separated women into different age groups, and suggested screening intervals, but also included a rating of evidence quality (A-I) that supported the screening recommendation. They changed in 2009 and 2016. The frequent changes had different, not all purely scientific and evidence-based causes. The political influence of anti-cancer activists, as well as media coverage, increased public interest in mammography, which in turn influenced changes in mammography guidelines, sometimes against scientific evidence. Most changes moved towards more frequent screening for women older than 40, and less frequently for younger women, probably because multiple clinical trials had found that mammography was not useful for younger women with no history of breast cancer. There was also growing evidence of overdiagnosis and overtreatment risks from frequent mammography use. Conclusions: The patient-geared mammography guidelines have changed due to multiple and not always well-grounded factors, such as public interpretations of mammography usefulness, social attention to mammography, and influence of different stakeholders at the time. Some changes have resulted solely from political and social factors, disregarding building scientific and clinical evidence against frequent mammography use.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Enchanting the Secular: Religion, Science, and Industry

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In my Honors Thesis, I endeavor to complicate and to respond to conventional debates over historical periodization and the problem of what it means to be "modern." I understand the

In my Honors Thesis, I endeavor to complicate and to respond to conventional debates over historical periodization and the problem of what it means to be "modern." I understand the modern as a conceptual product of discourses surrounding religion, science, and industry. Specifically, the modern era has been defined as one in which the forms of rationalization associated with quantitative and experimental scientific methods and large-scale, technologically sophisticated industrial production have surpassed the "irrational" superstitions associated with religion. Critical responses to this definition have largely had the goal of supplanting it with another way of conceiving of the historical discontinuity between the "modern" and the "non-modern." In three essays, I aim to complicate the terms (religion, science, and industry) in which these debates have been conducted and to relate them to one another both historically and conceptually. As opposed to the goal of re-defining the modern, my goal in these essays is to complicate the existing definitions and to reveal and challenge the ideological motives of historical periodization. I illuminate the connections of the modern conception of "religion" to a colonial system of power, between scientific development and changes in economic and religious thinking, and between contemporary technological and industrial projects to an "enchanted" view of the world. In tracing these connections, I am indebted to conventional discourses of modernization, Max Weber's theory of "disenchantment," and recent scholarship on the use of materialist methods in the study of history. In these essays, I move beyond the critical project of "re-imagining" the modern, and illuminate some of the ideological commitments of that project that I consider untenable. In addition to a more sophisticated historical understanding of the meaning of religion, science, and industry, what I aim to achieve in my thesis is a better framing of some of the largest problems faced by contemporary humanity, including the looming risks of ecological, economic, and geopolitical collapse. In this framing, I situate these risks in the context of their connection to strategies of historical periodization, and argue that managing them will require a radically new view of religion, science, industry, and the roles that they play in producing historical discontinuity.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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From Monsters to Medicine: A Historical Analysis of Changes in the Field of Teratology Over the Twentieth Century

Description

This project focuses on the history of how teratogens, or agents which have the potential to cause birth defects, have been understood and tested for teratogenic potential in the US

This project focuses on the history of how teratogens, or agents which have the potential to cause birth defects, have been understood and tested for teratogenic potential in the US over the twentieth century. Prior to this time, teratogen studies were primarily concerned with cataloguing defects rather than exploring possible causes. At the turn of the twentieth century, experimental teratogen studies with the aim of elucidating mechanisms commenced. However, these early studies did not aim to discover human pregnancy outcomes and ways to prevent them, but simply focused on the results of exposing pregnant mammals to various physical and chemical insults. My project documents the change in understanding of teratogens over the twentieth century, the advancement of testing methods, and the causes of these advancements. Through the Embryo Project at Arizona State University (embryo.asu.edu), a digital encyclopedia for topics related to embryology, development, and reproductive medicine, I wrote ten encyclopedic articles that focused on chemical mechanisms of various teratogens, testing limitations in animal models, and legal and regulatory responses to well-known teratogens. As an extension of my previous work, this project bridges the current gap in research and focuses on contextualizing major events in the field of teratology to determine how these events led to various shifts in the understanding of birth defects and their causes, and how those conceptual shifts led to the creation of teratological testing guidelines. Results show that throughout the twentieth century, there are four distinct shifts in the understanding of teratogens: the first being 1900-1945, the second being 1946-1960, the third being 1961-1980, and the fourth being 1981-2000.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Surviving Cervical Cancer: A History of Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment

Description

Cervical cancer, which many physicians of 2019 consider to be a success in terms of establishing widely used forms of early preventative and diagnostic technologies, experienced a reduction in incidence

Cervical cancer, which many physicians of 2019 consider to be a success in terms of establishing widely used forms of early preventative and diagnostic technologies, experienced a reduction in incidence rates in women by over fifty percent between 1975 and 2016. Cervical cancer does not often present in women with symptoms until it has entered a later stage of the disease. Because of this fact, in the early twentieth century, physicians were often only able to diagnose cervical cancer when either the woman reported complaints or there was a visual confirmation of lesions on the cervix. The symptoms women often reported included vague abdominal pain, bleeding after sex, and abnormal amounts of vaginal discharge, all of which are non-specific symptoms, making it even harder for women to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. This thesis answers the following question: How does the history of cervical cancer show that prevention helps reduce rates of cancer-related deaths among women? By studying the history of cervical cancer, people can understand how a cancer that was once one of the top killers of women in the US has declined to become one of the lowest through the establishment of and effective communication of early prevention and diagnostics, both among the general public and within the medical community itself. This thesis is organized based on key episodes which were pertinent to the history of cervical cancer, primarily within the United States and Europe. The episodes are organized in context of the shifts in thought regarding cervical cancer and include topics such as vaccine technologies like the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines, social awareness movements that educated women on the importance of early detection, and analyses of the early preventative strategies and attempts at treating cervical cancer. After analyzing eleven key episodes, the thesis determined that, through the narrative of early attempts to treat cervical cancer, shifting the societal thought on cancer, evolving the importance of early detection, and, finally, obtaining a means of prevention, the history of cervical cancer does demonstrate that the development of preventative strategies has resulted in reducing cancer-related deaths among women. Understanding what it took for physicians to evolve from simply detecting cervical cancer to being able to prevent it entirely matters because it can change the way we think about managing other forms of cancer.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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A History of Astrobiology: Social Network Structures of the Emerging Field

Description

Astrobiology, as it is known by official statements and agencies, is “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe” (NASA Astrobiology Insitute , 2018).

Astrobiology, as it is known by official statements and agencies, is “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe” (NASA Astrobiology Insitute , 2018). This definition should suit a dictionary, but it may not accurately describe the research and motivations of practicing astrobiologists. Furthermore, it does little to characterize the context in which astrobiologists work. The aim of this project is to explore various social network structures within a large body of astrobiological research, intending to both further define the current motivations of astrobiological research and to lend context to these motivations. In this effort, two Web of Science queries were assembled to search for two contrasting corpora related to astrobiological research. The first search, for astrobiology and its close synonym, exobiology, returned a corpus of 3,229 journal articles. The second search, which includes the first and supplements it with further search terms (see Table 1) returned a corpus of 19,017 journal articles. The metadata for these articles were then used to construct various networks. The resulting networks describe an astrobiology that is well entrenched in other related fields, showcasing the interdisciplinarity of astrobiology in its emergence. The networks also showcase the entrenchment of astrobiology in the sociological context in which it is conducted—namely, its relative dependence on the United States government, which should prompt further discussion amongst astrobiology researchers.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-12

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Medicalizing childhood: pediatrics, public health, and children's hospitals in nineteenth-century Paris and London

Description

During the nineteenth century, children's physical health became a dominant theme in France and Great Britain, two of Europe's pediatric pioneers. This dissertation examines how British and French doctors, legislators,

During the nineteenth century, children's physical health became a dominant theme in France and Great Britain, two of Europe's pediatric pioneers. This dissertation examines how British and French doctors, legislators, hospital administrators, and social reformers came to see the preservation of children's physical health as an object of national and international concern. Medical knowledge and practice shaped, and was shaped by, nineteenth-century child preservation activities in France and Great Britain, linking medicine, public health, and national public and private efforts to improve the health of nations, especially that of their future members. Children's hospitals played a significant role in this process by promoting child health; preventing and combating childhood diseases; fostering pediatric professionalization and specialization; and diffusing medical-based justifications for child welfare reforms in the second half of the century. This deeply contextualized tale of two hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London (1852) and Sainte-Eugénie in Paris (1855), traces a crescendo in the interest, provision, and advocacy for children's medical care over time: from foundling homes and dispensaries to specialized hospitals with convalescent branches and large outpatient clinics. As a comparative study of the medicalization of children's bodies between 1820 and 1890, this dissertation also investigates the transnational exchange of medical ideas, institutions, and practices pertaining to child health between France and Great Britain during a period of nation-building. Specialized pediatric institutions in Paris and London built upon and solidified local, national, and international interests in improving and preserving child health. Despite great differences in their hospital systems, French and British children's hospital administrators and doctors looked to one another as partners, models, and competitors. Nineteenth-century French and British concerns for national public health, and child health in particular, had important distinctions and parallels, but medical, institutional, and legislative developments related to these concerns were not isolated activities, but rather, tied to transnational communication, cooperation, and competition.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Lessons from embryos: Haeckel's embryo drawings, evolution, and secondary biology textbooks

Description

In 1997, developmental biologist Michael Richardson compared his research team's embryo photographs to Ernst Haeckel's 1874 embryo drawings and called Haeckel's work noncredible.Science soon published <“>Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,<”> and

In 1997, developmental biologist Michael Richardson compared his research team's embryo photographs to Ernst Haeckel's 1874 embryo drawings and called Haeckel's work noncredible.Science soon published <“>Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,<”> and Richardson's comments further reinvigorated criticism of Haeckel by others with articles in The American Biology Teacher, <“>Haeckel's Embryos and Evolution: Setting the Record Straight <”> and the New York Times, <“>Biology Text Illustrations more Fiction than Fact.<”> Meanwhile, others emphatically stated that the goal of comparative embryology was not to resurrect Haeckel's work. At the center of the controversy was Haeckel's no-longer-accepted idea of recapitulation. Haeckel believed that the development of an embryo revealed the adult stages of the organism's ancestors. Haeckel represented this idea with drawings of vertebrate embryos at similar developmental stages. This is Haeckel's embryo grid, the most common of all illustrations in biology textbooks. Yet, Haeckel's embryo grids are much more complex than any textbook explanation. I examined 240 high school biology textbooks, from 1907 to 2010, for embryo grids. I coded and categorized the grids according to accompanying discussion of (a) embryonic similarities (b) recapitulation, (c) common ancestors, and (d) evolution. The textbooks show changing narratives. Embryo grids gained prominence in the 1940s, and the trend continued until criticisms of Haeckel reemerged in the late 1990s, resulting in (a) grids with fewer organisms and developmental stages or (b) no grid at all. Discussion about embryos and evolution dropped significantly.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Definitely directed evolution (1890-1926): the importance of variation in major evolutionary works by Theodor Eimer, Edward Drinker Cope, and Leo Berg

Description

This dissertation shows that the central conceptual feature and explanatory motivation of theories of evolutionary directionality between 1890 and 1926 was as follows: morphological variation in the developing organism limits

This dissertation shows that the central conceptual feature and explanatory motivation of theories of evolutionary directionality between 1890 and 1926 was as follows: morphological variation in the developing organism limits the possible outcomes of evolution in definite directions. Put broadly, these theories maintained a conceptual connection between development and evolution as inextricably associated phenomena. This project develops three case studies. The first addresses the Swiss-German zoologist Theodor Eimer's book Organic Evolution (1890), which sought to undermine the work of noted evolutionist August Weismann. Second, the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope's Primary Factors (1896) developed a sophisticated system of inheritance that included the material of heredity and the energy needed to induce and modify ontogenetic phenomena. Third, the Russian biogeographer Leo Berg's Nomogenesis (1926) argued that the biological world is deeply structured in a way that prevents changes to morphology taking place in more than one or a few directions. These authors based their ideas on extensive empirical evidence of long-term evolutionary trajectories. They also sought to synthesize knowledge from a wide range of studies and proposed causes of evolution and development within a unified causal framework based on laws of evolution. While being mindful of the variation between these three theories, this project advances "Definitely Directed Evolution" as a term to designate these shared features. The conceptual coherence and reception of these theories shows that Definitely Directed Evolution from 1890 to 1926 is an important piece in reconstructing the wider history of theories of evolutionary directionality.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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A Quadruple-Based Text Analysis System for History and Philosophy of Science

Description

Computational tools in the digital humanities often either work on the macro-scale, enabling researchers to analyze huge amounts of data, or on the micro-scale, supporting scholars in the interpretation and

Computational tools in the digital humanities often either work on the macro-scale, enabling researchers to analyze huge amounts of data, or on the micro-scale, supporting scholars in the interpretation and analysis of individual documents. The proposed research system that was developed in the context of this dissertation ("Quadriga System") works to bridge these two extremes by offering tools to support close reading and interpretation of texts, while at the same time providing a means for collaboration and data collection that could lead to analyses based on big datasets. In the field of history of science, researchers usually use unstructured data such as texts or images. To computationally analyze such data, it first has to be transformed into a machine-understandable format. The Quadriga System is based on the idea to represent texts as graphs of contextualized triples (or quadruples). Those graphs (or networks) can then be mathematically analyzed and visualized. This dissertation describes two projects that use the Quadriga System for the analysis and exploration of texts and the creation of social networks. Furthermore, a model for digital humanities education is proposed that brings together students from the humanities and computer science in order to develop user-oriented, innovative tools, methods, and infrastructures.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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From monsters to patients: a history of disability

Description

This dissertation addresses the tendency among some disability scholars to overlook the importance of congenital deformity and disability in the pre-modern West. It argues that congenital deformity and disability deviated

This dissertation addresses the tendency among some disability scholars to overlook the importance of congenital deformity and disability in the pre-modern West. It argues that congenital deformity and disability deviated so greatly from able-bodied norms that they have played a pivotal role in the history of Western Civilization. In particular, it explores the evolution of two seemingly separate, but ultimately related, ideas from classical antiquity through the First World War: (1) the idea that there was some type of significance, whether supernatural or natural, to the existence of congenital deformity and (2) the idea that the existence of disabled people has resulted in a disability problem for western societies because many disabilities can hinder labor productivity to such an extent that large numbers of the disabled cannot survive without taking precious resources from their more productive, able-bodied counterparts. It also looks at how certain categories of disabled people, including, monsters, hunchbacks, cripples, the blind, the deaf and dumb, and dwarfs, which signified aesthetic and functional deviations from able-bodied norms, often reinforced able-bodied prejudices against the disabled.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013