Cross-Cultural Medicine

This is a very interesting episode of Fresh Air with Boston doctor Michael Grodin about treating Tibetan monks for PTSD. Grodin treats his patients with a variety of methods, a sort of blend of traditional western medicine with the practices employed in the patients home country.   It raises a lot of interesting questions about the universal versus cultural nature of illness and treatment.  Is PTSD a universally understood phenomenon that can be treated with psychotropic drugs/Western medicine? Or, is it culturally constructed with treatment dependent upon the use of culturally-specific methods?  For now, Grodin is content not knowing the answer and his use of mixed methods suggests that one cultures “knowledge” about illness is not always sufficient to treat a patient.

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