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Metabolic Syndrome: The construction of a 'new' medical problem and the socio-ethical consequences

Chatterton, Christopher 2014. Metabolic Syndrome: The construction of a 'new' medical problem and the socio-ethical consequences. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The work presented here is a sociological and bioethical analysis of the medical condition known as Syndrome X / Metabolic Syndrome. The term is a recent name given to a group of cardiac / diabetic risk factors that include high cholesterol, insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure and high fat levels in the blood (Garber 2004). Interest in the topic was reawakened by Reaven (1988) who first coined the term ‘Syndrome X’ to describe a cluster of risk factors that he believed was linked to insulin resistance. In recent years the number of ‘new’ diseases that have been detected and identified by medicine has increased rapidly, with examples such as clinical obesity and infertility. Commentators have speculated as to why this may be happening and one suggestion is that our lives are becoming ever more medicalised (Moynihan and Smith 2002). The thesis consists of three main strands. The first strand is a sociological analysis of the Metabolic Syndrome concept and how it came to be constructed as a medical condition, with particular emphasis on whether the syndrome represents an example of the medicalisation of obesity. The second strand looks at the relationship between sociology and bioethics, and whether research from the former can help inform the ethical debate in the other. In this regard, I hope to show in this thesis that it is possible to conduct social and bioethical analyses side by side, and that these can be complementary and give you a richer understanding of a topic. The third strand is a discussion of the main ethical issues surrounding this ‘new’ diagnosis, with particular emphasis on the issue of blame and responsibility in relation to this condition.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 23:18

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