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Book and Media Reviews
April 5, 2006

Medical Maps

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(13):1587-1592. doi:10.1001/jama.295.13.1587-b

This book makes one think about medical maps in a new way. Maps of disease are not necessarily completely objective representations of all the facts in one time and place. Rather, the author convincingly shows medical maps to be highly graphic renderings of subjective arguments about the nature of disease and its causation. Maps may, in fact, by themselves actively construct knowledge. Rather than simply state things, they may help us to think about things. Medical maps may be more akin to an impressionist painting than to the family portrait hanging in the hall.

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