The Germ Theory of Disease

The Germ Theory of Disease

The germ theory of disease is a core component of contemporary allopathic medicine. Germ theory proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases. Although highly controversial when first introduced, it is now a cornerstone of modern medicine and has led to innovations and concepts such as antibiotics and hygienic practices.

Typical causes of illness, according to the allopathic belief, are (O’Neil, 2005):

Organic breakdown or deterioration (e.g., tooth decay, heart failure, senility)

Obstruction (e.g., kidney stones, arterial blockage due to plaque buildup)

Injury (e.g., broken bones, bullet wounds)

Imbalance (e.g., too much or too little of specific hormones and salts in the blood)

Malnutrition (e.g., too much or too little food, not enough proteins, vitamins, or minerals)

Parasites (e.g., bacteria, viruses, amoebas, worms)

What Do You Think?

What are your personal beliefs about how health is maintained and illness occurs? Do you hold any beliefs such as that a glass of milk will help you fall asleep? Where does that belief come from? Is it valid? How do your beliefs affect your behavior?

Pathways to Care The theory of illness with which a person identifies has an impact on where he or she seeks care.
Within the United States there are two general systems of care to choose from: the allopathic (biomedical) approach and the holistic approach. The allopathic approach is often viewed as being scientific and focuses more on the physical components of illness than on the social aspects. Holistic medicine is viewed by some as being unscientific, and it is based on a psychosocial model of health care. A comparison of these two approaches can be found in Table 2.2. People select one health care delivery system over the other for a variety of reasons, and this decision-making process includes considerations such as culture, access to care, health beliefs, and affordability, but many people use both systems.
You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

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The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.

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