Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Death of Physiology....and of medical education?

Hot on the heels of my preceding 'rant' on groupthinks and health/education, here is an article by a leading physiologist and Emeritus Professor in King's College, London, Prof RJ Naftalin. Needless to say our medical educational system is pretty much hurtling down this road to disaster.

I reproduce an abstract here, and the full article can be read at The Scientist

Opinion: The decline of physiology
Medical schools in the UK are teaching physiology courses primarily focused on clinical applications with much curtailed practical laboratory training to the detriment of medical education. Prof RJ Naftalin.

Clinicians now take a leading role in pre-clinical teaching, largely displacing pre-clinical scientists who are more in touch with basic physiological processes. Scientific content taught in the context of clinical problems omits much basic science, which is regarded as inessential digression from the clinical problems upon which the course is centred.

Another factor contributing to the decline of physiology courses has been the loss of physiology departments as a result of their merging with schools of biological, life, health, or medical sciences. Only one or two discrete academic physiology departments remain in the United Kingdom. Resource allocation within the preclinical schools, formerly controlled by academics working at the pre-clinical faculty or departmental level, is now centralized and controlled by senior administrators and clinicians. The financial and man power resources are redirected towards the more highly prioritized needs of the medical school rather than to science departments.

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