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Defining disease: determining practice

Abstract

Management of patients traditionally starts with establishing a diagnosis, a process that relies heavily on how diseases are defined. But definitions of disease vary with time and are influenced by, amongst other things, culture, politics, sociology and economics. The ninth annual Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin symposium, 'Defining disease: determining practice', explored the ways disease is defined and how this might affect practice. Here, we summarise the key points raised in the presentations and subsequent discussion.

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