RFD: sci.med.psychobiology

k p c kpc at pluto.arc.nasa.gov
Wed Oct 6 16:30:43 EST 1993

I think that this is a big improvement over the original
sci.med.psychiatry RFD, but I do have a few comments.  I've added
alt.med.cfs, because they will probably be interested in this CFD
also.  "You" refers to the proposer.

First, sci.med.brain never reached CFD, much less CFV.  So it was
never defeated, as you claim.  As far as I know, no neurologists or
neurosurgeons were waging any turf battles.  (In fact, I was concerned
that the original RFD might have been conceived as an enclave for
psychiatrists, but now that the name is changed, the group more
clearly includes what you term psychoneurobiology.)

Second, you'd like to exclude from the topic list these topics:
stigma, liaison with the rest of medicine, liaison with the public,
and government/policy issues.  You mention that you'd like to do so on
the grounds that they are not specifically scientific.  Yet on your
list of topics, you include psychiatric education and training.  I
think these topics are fair game, make excellent discussion material,
and should all be on the list.

In sci.med there is a reasonable balance.  Certain enduring policy
topics should be moved to talk.politics.medicine or
talk.politics.drugs (ref. non-medical aspects of the US drug war), but
topics such as relationships among medical fields, doctor/client
relationships, stigma, and image are IMHO perfectly suited to
dicussion right where medicine is discussed, given that they are part
and parcel of medicine.  Medicine is a practical field.  (sci.med is
definitely not an exclusively research newsgroup.  Contrast sci.med to
the existing, explicit research fora: bit.listserv.psycgrad,
sci.research, and the non-gatewayed mailing lists brain-l,
psyche-{d,l}, and cogneuro.  Many of these topics are even covered on
the "research-only" fora.)  So I'd like to see these topics covered in
the new group.

Third, while sci.med.psychobiology is a major improvement over
sci.med.psychiatry (it will reduce the discussions of Freudian
psychodynamics and inner children that one has access to on
sci.psychology, for example), sci.med.brain is not dead as a preferred
name for the group.

I do prefer sci.med.brain, but I would settle for a compromise:
explicitly including much of neurology in the list, even with
sci.med.psychobiology as the name.  IMHO it's better to have an
inclusive group than a professional enclave.  You did list some
non-(strict-)psychiatry topics, so that much is good.

However, IMHO discussion of biological aspects of disorders such as
migraines, strokes, Tourette's, seizure disorders, aspects of CFS,
sleep medicine, and other disorders can only be helpful.  These
disorders often have similar genetic aspects, similar physiology, or
similar pharmacology to those you cover, and often fall through the
cracks, so it's important to be sure they are included.

I agree with the group's being unmoderated.  I think that's the only
way to go.


> To accomplish all of these goals with the thousands of psychiatric
> and psychobiological professionals all over the globe, the creation
> of sci.med.psychobiology is essential.

There are SOME alternatives.  :-).  But with a few modifications,
preferably to the name sci.med.brain, but alternatively with more
explicit inclusion of topics like those that I mention above, I can be
persuaded to be behind the idea.

[If you follow up, please limit it to news.groups.  Private comments
to me about this are welcome, but you might wish to CC the proposer,
ruegg at med.unc.edu, also, so that he knows of your opinion too.]

kpc at ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov.  Interests: multidisciplinary neuroethology, AI, HCI.
Free & private speech are vital to democracy on mankind's very future, the net.
The prescription monopoly raises costs and lowers quality.  Legalize medicines!

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