Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society

Workshop about Hormones and the Shifting Frontiers of Disease

Interdisciplinary workshop held in January 2021

Hormones often play key roles in disease. New information about their influence is changing how diseases are understood and approached in medical settings. Furthermore, social contexts have direct impact on hormonal states and their treatment. At the Centre for Biomedicine, Self & Society, we are exploring hormones as a ‘bridge’ between bodies and the social world. Andrea Ford, Martyn Pickersgill and Steve Sturdy organised a workshop to explore opportunities to collaborate in asking and answering new questions in healthcare.

We were pleased to be joined by speakers Professor Philippa Saunders, Chair of Reproductive Steroids, Centre for Inflammation Research and Professor Rebecca Reynolds, Personal Chair of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. 

In this workshop funded by the Wellcome Trust's Institutional Strategic Support Fund we discussed the following questions:

1. How do we design health systems which recognise that hormonal conditions can exceed particular organs and physiological systems?

2.How do endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which pervade everyday environments, complicate the idea of 'normal' versus 'pathological' hormonal states?

3. How can clinical care account for environmental factors of disease (the 'exposome' in public health research), when clinicians work largely with individuals and not populations?

4. How do we understand, diagnose, and treat hormonal disorders when personal experience and physiological indicators don’t align?

5. How do cultural factors influence which symptoms, and whose, get taken seriously?

This illustions from graphic facilitator ListenThinkDraw shows what was discussed.

Image illustrating key points from the workshop