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On riding and ridding disease, motivations of medical researchers

27 September 2013

I’ve made another guest appearance in the award-winning science blog Beaker, offering meditations on medical research, health ethos, cycling, and Pedal the Cause.

Image: Jamie Lynch (left) and I recently rode from UCSD to Julian and back, following the inaugural Pedal the Cause route. Not pictured are the copious amounts of Julian Pie consumed shortly thereafter.

There’s a certain duality to medical researchers. On one hand, there’s the immense dedication and time devoted (years, wrinkled skin, and gray hairs) toward the enormously engrossing practice of science. It’s a curious compulsion sharpened by a hunger to discover what has never been known before. I wrote briefly before about this on Beaker a few weeks ago. On the other hand is the deep motivation drawn from compassionate empathy for those crippled by disease. It’s a very human connection, and medical researchers need to allow both forces to guide their inquiry and labor. Central to this ethos is the assertion that everyone should have the chance to live a happy, productive life. Of course, this ethos extends much further than medical research, and everyone can do a lot to promote healthier, happier living for themselves and those around them, regardless of profession and life circumstances. Medical research marches on and continues to improve lives and grant more birthdays, but the mere absence of disease is not health; medical research is critically important, but it is far from the only initiative toward that end.
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