Review: Editorial on the Prospects of Psychosomatic Medicine

The article reviewed here is a 2009 editorial ‘Prospects of Psychosomatic Medicine’ by Komaki and colleagues and freely available here. In the introduction, the authors inform the reader that the Japanese Psychosomatic Society was founded 50 years ago. They suggest some of the ways in which the emphasis in psychosomatic medicine in Japan has changed. On reading this, I was interested to see how different models were being used over time and how these models had the potential to impact on practice. The interaction between mind and body is complex as are the ways in which this can be conceptualised and such discussions and shifts in perspective take place in other countries also. I was curious to understand what the catalysts for such changes in perspective might be. They also refer to their journal – the biopsychosocial medicine journal which is an Open Access Journal available here.

The authors then discuss the use of fMRI and EEG to investigate the issue of mind and brain (see a model of the mind and brain reviewed here). The authors look at studies exploring the relationship between genes and mental illness including anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome as well as stress-related illnesses. These include murine studies. The authors then look at behavioural studies and epidemiological data and draw an interesting relationship between  presentation to A&E with coronary heart disease and prominent national football or Sumo matches!

Much of the research described was biological psychiatry. If we were able to trace a pathway from conscious and unconscious processes in the mind through to brain activity and then somatic activity it is easy to see that this is a complex multifaceted process which uses different descriptive languages according to the stage in this process. It would be interesting to see at which point in this process the emphasis occurs within both local and national services and to clarify the details of how such models are transformed into clinical processes.


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You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast).

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The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


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