Re-examining medical assumptions about aging

Date published: 2008-08-18 12:10:26 PM

Medical anthropologist Margaret Lock has spent her career focusing on relationships: how culture, technological innovation and the body in health and illness intertwine in our understanding of medical practice. Winner of the 2007 SSHRC Gold Medal for Achievement in Research, Lock is regarded as one of the most distinguished medical anthropologists of her generation.

Her work has raised questions among social scientists and medical practitioners about how society perceives natural processes such as menopause and aging. What is normal? What is abnormal? At what point do we have a responsibility to intervene? Lock’s current work on the genetic component of Alzheimer’s disease raises the all-important question of how individuals and families will manage professional estimations of risk about impending Alzheimer’s and other diseases once genome scans become widely available.