Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (5):193-210 (2021)

Kathryn Tabb
Bard College
Maël Lemoine
University of Bordeaux
Since the turn of the twenty-first century, biomedical psychiatry around the globe has embraced the so-called precision medicine paradigm, a model for medical research that uses innovative techniques for data collection and analysis to reevaluate traditional theories of disease. The goal of precision medicine is to improve diagnostics by restratifying the patient population on the basis of a deeper understanding of disease processes. This paper argues that precision is ill-fitting for psychiatry for two reasons. First, in psychiatry, unlike in fields like oncology, precision medicine has been understood as an attempt to improve medicine by casting out, rather than merely revising, traditional taxonomic tools. Second, in psychiatry the term “biomarker” is often used in reference to signs or symptoms that allow patients to be classified and then matched with treatments; however, in oncology “biomarker” usually refers to a disease mechanism that is useful not only for diagnostics, but also for discovering causal pathways that drug therapies can target. Given these differences between how the precision medicine paradigm operates in psychiatry and in other medical fields like oncology, while precision psychiatry may offer successful rhetoric, it is not a promising paradigm.
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-022-09558-3
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Intervention, Causal Reasoning, and the Neurobiology of Mental Disorders: Pharmacological Drugs as Experimental Instruments.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):542-551.

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Philosophy of medicine in 2021.Jeremy R. Simon & Maël Lemoine - 2021 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (5):187-191.

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