Week 2 Response/ Evolution of Technoscience in Medicine

After last week’s lecture, what fascinated me the most was the idea of technoscience. Technoscience is the combination of technology and science as disciplines, meaning science and technology are related to one another rather than two separate elements. The question that came to my mind when I thought about technoscience was how these two terms were related. Technology as we know has continued to evolved and advanced in such a way that it has become beneficial to many individuals, especially those in the field of science. As we looked back into many centuries of our history, science was never evolved as it is today.

In my opinion, the evolution of technoscience began as a result of Aelius Galenus, also known as Galen. Galen was a Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher that was considered to be the “most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity” as Galen influenced the development of anatomy, physiology, and pathology. One of his work as a physician was The body as three interconnected system, which is shown below:

Picture1

Galen at that time did not have the technoscience to produce an image where the three interconnected system can be seen; the brain and nerves, the heart and arteries, and the liver and veins. However, Galen used his knowledge about anatomy and physiology to depict such a drawing during that time. While the details may not be that explicit enough to understand the problem or the function of the human body, Galen’s image paved the way for the future of medicine.

As we look forward away from the 1st century and into the late 19th century, a major difference in medicine can be seen from this image.

hand

This historical image of veins in the hand was taken with a Roentgen rays in Prof. Franz Exner’s physiochemical institute in Vienna in 1896. Comparing the Galen’s image with this one, there is sign of evolution of technoscience. With such advancement in medicine, doctors and scientists can make more in-depth observations on a patient to help them find the cure to their problem.

Medicine today as we know it has become highly advanced with its technoscience. From EKG and ultrasound machine, technoscience has made medicine more accessible and efficient. However, with such advancement in medicine, we as humans must be cautious as to how far such technoscience can go. As Barbara Stafford wrote,

Using radio waves and magnetic fields, this technique for painlessly exploring morphology, nonetheless raises the specter of universal diaphaniety. It conjures up visions of an all-powerful observer who has instant visual access to the anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology of a patient. WIll this open-minded trend toward complete exposure give rise to the same sense of vulnerability, shame, and powerlessness that the eighteenth century associated with anatomization?   (Wilson 82-3)

Stafford is curious as to the advancement of technoscience. By allowing such evolution in medicine, Stafford wonders if the increased public access will promote feeling of shame and power. These advancements reveal many information about an individual and she fear that these access to the human being may be a violation of their privacy.

As I remain fascinated about the evolution of technoscience and how it has changed medicine, I ponder as to how far doctors and scientists use technoscience for their benefit. We as patients must also be careful and understand these advancements can be harmful to us rather than beneficial.

~ Kevin Trieu-Nguyen

– I would like to be present Week 5 on Week 4 material

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