The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine

dianagosalvez Diana Gosálvez Prados last modified 22/06/2012 09:31

Disease has changed since 1812. People have different diseases, doctors hold different ideas about those diseases, and diseases carry different meanings in society. To understand the material and conceptual transformations of disease over the past 200 years, one must explore the incontrovertibly social nature of disease.

Jones DS, Podolsky SH, Greene JA. The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine. N Engl J Med 2012; 366:2333-2338. Available at:



Disease is always generated, experienced, defined, and ameliorated within a social world. Patients need notions of disease that explicate their suffering. Doctors need theories of etiology and pathophysiology that account for the burden of disease and inform therapeutic practice. Policymakers need realistic understandings of determinants of disease and medicine's impact in order to design systems that foster health. The history of disease offers crucial insights into the intersections of these interests and the ways they can inform medical practice and health policy.

Jones DS, Podolsky SH, Greene JA.

Norte América