Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Universities, beef, and some education on the side...

In the last few days two articles have come out in the New York Times that I think are relevant to this blog, despite the fact that neither of them is about psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis. Humor me... I do have a point...

The first is an opinion piece called End the University as We Know It, by Mark C. Taylor. It calls for a systemic reorganization of the university system, most specifically in graduate education, because:
Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).
Why is this relevant to PsA, you might ask? It was these paragraphs that hit me:
Responsible teaching and scholarship must become cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural.

Just a few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of political scientists who had gathered to discuss why international relations theory had never considered the role of religion in society. Given the state of the world today, this is a significant oversight. There can be no adequate understanding of the most important issues we face when disciplines are cloistered from one another and operate on their own premises.

It would be far more effective to bring together people working on questions of religion, politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, literature, art, religion and philosophy to engage in comparative analysis of common problems. As the curriculum is restructured, fields of inquiry and methods of investigation will be transformed.
Ok, so sub out the words "religion, politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology" etc. etc. and put in "rheumatology, dermatology, immunology, gastroenterology" etc. etc. The more I learn about how deeply connected autoimmune diseases are, the more I wish that these, and other, fields of medicine were working more closely together.

Now I know I have it really good - my rheumatologist consults with my dermatologist on almost everything she does, and visa versa. But I'm assuming that that is not true for many of you, and certainly neither of them has talked to my gastroenterologist. I do like the idea of a new area of clinical (meaning, not in a lab- they see patients) specialization - autoimmunology - but boy folks in that field had better have great communication skills.

Anyway, go read the article. It really makes you think.

That second article? Here - Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat, written by Jane E. Brody. Apparently, a new study demonstrates that the more red meat consumed, the more likely you are to die early.

This article struck me because of the increased risk for heart disease that psoriasis patients (and, in theory, psoriatic arthritis patients) have. Here's my thinking - I'm already at increased risk for heart disease... and red meat consumption increases that risk further! I want to protect my body, and I want all of my readers to, too. So I thought I'd share this data...

For lunch today, I'll be eating lentils while reading the paper. What about you?

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