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The importance of stories in science and medicine

Over at The White Noise today, Cassie Rodenberg discusses her motivation for teaming up with photographer Chris Arnade and documenting the personal stories of addicts on the streets of South Bronx. The portraits, accompanied by short bios, are moving.

When Rodenberg recently shared a poem written by a young woman she encountered, some readers claimed the post was out of place in on a science blog network. Rodenberg responded to critics saying:

Science in all its empiricism should see the world and what it studies for what it is — beautiful, pained, troubled and triumphant.

We have enough people covering scientific papers and enough covering science factoids. What we need, and I won’t pretend to say I have the perfect answer, is how science is relevant in our daily lives, struggles and triumphs.

I agree. Stories of people and their connection to health often motivate researchers and those practicing medicine. Understanding people is especially important for studying diseases like addiction, where those who suffer are stigmatized.

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