In my search for the essence of Biomedicine, I came across three principles. That it is a branch of medical science concerned especially with the capacity of human beings to survive and function in abnormally stressful environments, as in space travel. That it is a broad field of study that concerns itself with the theoretical aspects of medicine. And, that it refers a broad field of study that concerns itself with the theoretical aspects of medicine. As a curious person interested in natural medicine but with no inclination to scientific research and all its complexities, I will opt to dig deeper into the last principle.
As Theoretical Aspect of Medicine
(Excerpts from wiseGEEK)
This principle draws from research and history in the fields of human and veterinary medicine, as well as a number of related disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, genetics, pathology, zoology, botanical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and microbiology. Where traditional medicine is concerned with the direct practical application of medical knowledge, this principle looks at the history of the fields, and involves itself in new research to push the limits of what medicine is able to accomplish. This principle may also refer more specifically to a specific type of treatment, generally seen as more ‘natural’ than others, and often available in a less regulated context.
There are two main areas of research within this principle, preclinical research and clinical research:
The field of preclinical research involves a great deal of theoretical understanding and study, and may also involve tests performed on non-human animals to lead up to clinical trials. Because it draws from so many different areas of study, there can be many threads that are lost simply because they are not properly connected. As a result, one big focus of this principle is to try to find commonalities and synergies between different areas of study, to help lead to new drugs and treatments. This focus has evolved immensely in the past 100 years, and in the past two decades it has reached a level of high efficiency.
Clinical research, on the other hand, takes place after the groundwork has been done on a drug or treatment. Its job is to take the work that the biomedical researchers did in creating the new therapy, and test it to see if it actually works. They generally do this by getting a large group of people, screened to be a representative sample, and enter into a study with them wherein the new therapy is tested against a placebo or an existing treatment with a known success rate. In this way a statistical analysis can be undertaken to see if the treatment is actually effective, and if so, if it is more effective than existing treatments.
According to wiseGEEK, the term biomedicine may also be used to refer to a particular type of treatment, in which case it refers to things like vitamins, homeopathic remedies, amino acids, supplements, and other generally unregulated forms of healing.