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HUM 321 M2D2: Controversial Illnesses

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HUM 321 M2D2: Controversial Illnesses

There are many times in which medical doctors are unable to adequately diagnose symptoms, illnesses, or diseases. There are also controversies surrounding the diagnosis and treatment for a number of diseases and conditions; tick-borne diseases present an extremely polarizing challenge for practitioners to diagnose and treat as well as for some patients to be relieved of their symptoms.

Discussion Questions:

Prepare for the discussions by reading Peabody, viewing the film “Under Our Skin,” and by reading articles by Lickerman, Specter, and Tan.  Amy Tan is an American writer best known for her book The Joy Luck Club.  She claims to have neuroborreliosis, otherwise known as Chronic Lyme.  Her diagnosis is one that is not supported by the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA). IDSA does not recognize chronic Lyme as a diagnosis, but instead would explain Tan’s symptoms as autoimmune in nature, not the result of an ongoing infection. This activity aligns with module outcomes 2 and 4.

  • What are the controversies in diagnosing and treating the symptoms of Lyme disease according to the Infectious Diseases Society of American (IDSA) versus the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)?  Compare the two viewpoints and explain which side you agree with and why?
  • Apply Lickerman’s suggestions in his blog to Amy Tan’s story. Remember to include doctors’ specific biases and different kinds of thinking in your answer. Was there anything that could have been different for her had she followed Lickerman’s suggestions?  Please explain.


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