Thursday, September 28, 2006
A fascinating, though over long, article in Wired outlines the metabolic syndrome controversy. This is said to be a disease that afflicts 75 million Americans, causing, among other things, obesity. The drugs companies are now racing to produce treatments. However, many now dispute whether MS is a discrete condition and evidence suggests, contrary to the warnings of MS boosters, that it is no indicator of future health problems. This is a very profound issue and one that is seldom intelligently debated. One book - Ian Hacking's Rewriting the Soul - gets to the heart of the matter. Here is an article I wrote about this book some time ago. This is about multiple personality disorder. This used to be an unknown condition, but, as soon as it was defined, it became an epidemic. Hacking, reasonably enough, started from the position that these people were suffering from mass hysteria, not a real condition. But he arrived at a more subtle conclusion. These people were unwell, but they expressed their illness in the symptoms offered them by the age. In MS, unease becomes disease in the form of MS. Nothing is changed, however. The unease is the real condition, the human condition.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:49 am