UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Current teaching

I also supervise MSc and BSc dissertations, and would particularly like to hear from students interested in work on history and philosophy of medicine (very broadly construed). Some example projects might include:

  • Roe v Wade - UK reception and general ethical-legal-policy framework for termination of pregnancy
  • Lead in petrol and violent crime - this is really intriguing, but controversial, bit of causal inference from observational studies.
  • Disputed/contested disease - like morgellons, chronic fatigue, Gulf War syndrome and co. - in the context of the definitions of disease literature
  • Contemporary work looking at the role of the autopsy in medical practice. The numbers of post-mortems is rapidly declining. Why? What are the alternatives?
  • Re-use of diagnostic tests as health MOT-type tools - epistemological issues.
  • Drawing in the teaching of anatomy - historical, comparative or conceptual study.
  • Liverworts as emerging model organisms in biology or medicine. See http://www.marchantia.org/ for information, see also e.g. Creager et al. 2007.Science Without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives, Durham, N.C: Duke University Press.
  • Where's the causality in the Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method (RUCAM)? [see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18798340 to get started]
  • Risk and Framingham charts: what's the evidence?
  • Perityphlitis and appendicitis. Changes in reference between 1900-1920.
  • Theory-ladenness of non-visual observation in medicine. Perhaps, for example, something about heart sounds and relation to disease?
  • Causal arguments in the history of paratuberculosis. This is a strange one, because an important piece of causal evidence is the absence of other pathogens.Wikipedia.
  • Decline effect and evidence-based medicine. Decline effect and recent JAMA article.
  • Intoxication from Coca-cola and aspirin: not just an urban legend. While this is now thought to be unequivocally a myth - scopes - there are historical sources (see, e.g. this from the 1930s) that appear to take this issue very seriously.
  • Venous multiple sclerosis hypothesis
  • The hygiene hypothesis, and the rise of atopic disease