Month: October 2023

Medical is the science and art of treating disease, preventing illness and injury and promoting health. It is the profession of physicians, surgeons and other practitioners who are trained in diagnosing and treating disease and ill health. It also includes research into the causes, processes and effects of disease. The scientific basis for medicine is the natural sciences, which include biology, chemistry and physics. The study of these disciplines allows us to understand how the body works and what goes wrong when it stops working. Doctors have to be able to explain these concepts in terms that their patients can understand. This has led to the development of a language known as medical terminology. It is a combination of prefixes and suffixes that are taken from the languages of ancient Greece and Latin. The prefixes have specific meanings and the suffixes are dropped if they don’t fit with the root word. For example, arthr/o/itis is inflammation of a bone and joint. Other areas of medicine include cytology, which studies microscopic cells; embryology, which is the study of early development; epidemiology, which is the study of patterns of disease in populations; and genetics, which is the study of genes and their role in biological inheritance. All of these fields have applications in the practice of medicine. A major challenge for doctors is to establish the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms. This is done by talking to the patient (the history), examining them (the examination) and, when necessary, requesting tests like bloods or X-rays (the investigations). The information gathered from these sources is then used to form a hypothesis about what might be causing the symptoms. This diagnosis is then tested against the results of the investigations to confirm or reject it. It is important for all patients to know what their doctor’s background and specialisms are. This will help them to decide if they have the right doctor for them and whether they should be referred on for specialist care. It is also important to find out if the doctor has any conflicts of interest that might influence their recommendations or treatment options. These could be financial, such as being on the payroll of a pharmaceutical company, or they might have been involved in medical research that was funded by a drug company. Patients can do simple checks on their doctors by searching the internet for their name and the word “conflicts of interest.” This will reveal any recommendations that might benefit the doctor rather than the patient, such as prescribing drugs that aren’t in your best interests. It might also show that the doctor has published papers with companies that are interested in your medical condition. This is called the Vancouver protocol and is internationally recognised as good practice. You should always read the full text of any paper you are considering citing, not just the abstract. This will give you the full picture of what is being reported and allow you to assess its value and accuracy.

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