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Sociology of Health & Illness

Health, Healing & Illness
Books & Articles Medical
Journals & Magazines
Audio & Video
devices & apps
Mental Health & Disorders
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Obesity Drugs
General | Journals
Alcohol | Tobacco
Death and Dying
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Index Health & Illness

Health and medicine are not merely biological and medical phenomena, but also important sociological phenomena that are caused and controlled by society. Medical sociology provides an analytical framework for understanding the social contexts of health, illness, and health care. Central topics include the subjective experience of health and illness, political, economic and environmental circumstances fostering ill health; and societal forces constraining the medical care system and individuals’ responses to illness. It also includes ethical and social problems about advanced medical technology. We present a broadened view of medical sociology that encompasses a sociology of health and illness, of healing and health care, as well as of medicine.

Index Books and Articles

Index Journals & Magazines on Medical Sociology

Index Video & Audio

Index Self-tracking devices and apps

Types of Self-Tracking Devices and Mobile Apps
world record holder for number of wearable sensors
The world record holder for number of wearable sensors worn continuously: Rachel Kalmar, data scientist, community organizer.
A self-tracker is a person who collects data about her/his live on a regular basis, and who tracks data, and records and analyses them. Self-tracking can also be described as self-monitoring or life-logging. The Quantified Self Movement is leading to an era of ultimate self-tracking — it is an international collective whose members seek ‘self-knowledge through numbers’. Since its 2007 inception, the group has facilitated online forums and live meet-ups around the world in which quantified selfers share their experiments with diet, exercise, mood fluctuations, even relationship dynamics. The ethos of self-quantification has migrated out of the Quantified Self Movement, capturing the attention of venture capitalists, technology startups, established electronics companies, and mass-market consumers.

A heated public debate unfolds over how customer and citizen data tracking by governments and corporations might undermine personal identity, liberty, and privacy. But the consumers have embraced practices and products of self-tracking: downloading tracking apps to their smartphones and dressing their bodies with pendants and wristbands whose sensors log footsteps, heart rates, sleep phases, and more.

We can expect that in a few years’ time, patients will be able to measure everything about themselves from blood count and blood glucose content to activities of heart (electrocardiogram = ECG) and even genomics data. Consumer technology has now advanced to the point of being small and cheap enough that today we have devices and mobile and that tell us things almost instantly that before you could only discover from a doctor in a hospital running lengthy tests.

These are typical examples of self-tracking devices and apps:

  • Activity / Fitness monitor: tracks physical activity, steps, distance, calories burned, weight, food intake, and sleep quality and duration; gives muscle/exercise feedback.
  • Health monitor: tracks different signs of the periphery of the body. It measures body temperature, heart rate, VO2 (a numerical measurement of your body’s ability to consume oxygen), and motion (speed, distance & cadence); logging of subjective measures such as pain, energy levels and feeling of wellness.
  • Blood monitor: tracks blood pressure and blood sugar / glucose level.
  • Heart / Cardiac monitor: tracks heart rate, normal and abnormal heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation & blood pressure.
  • Sleep monitor: tracks sleep patterns (deep, light and REM), sleep duration and the quality of your bedtime.
  • Skin monitor: tracks temperature, dryness, hydration, pimples, freckles, increased pores, redness, melanin, and sebum.
  • Medication monitor: tracks the ingestion of the pharmaceutical & psychiatric medication; records and presents reminders for medications.
  • Mental-health monitor: tracks mood, stress and emotion.
  • Neurological monitor: tracks gait, limb paralysis, cerebral palsy (CP), and intracranial pressure; diagnostic capabilities such as, early detection of Parkinson’s (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
  • Pregnancy & baby monitor: tracks real contractions and false alarms such as Braxton Hicks contractions; tracks urine and faeces in the diaper of the baby.
  • Environment monitor: tracks surroundings, reads texts from any surface, learns and recognizes faces of people, objects, obstacles and describes the environment to visually impaired and blind people.

Index Medical Sociological Associations

Index Medical Sociological Departments

Index Mental Health & Disorders

Index Mental Health Sections of Sociological Associations

Index Newsgroups on mental disorders

Index Obesity

Index AIDS and HIV

Index Drugs


Journals and Magazines





Index Suicide

We are born with the ability to take our lives. Each year a million people make that choice. Even societies where suicide is illegal or taboo, people still kill themselves. Suicidal feelings should not be under-estimated, they are real and powerful and immediate. The victims are driven by pain not choice. Suicide isn’t chosen - it happens when pain exceeds the resources for coping with pain. But we do know that suicide is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And we also know that most people who once thought about killing themselves are now glad to be alive. They didn't want to end their lives - they just wanted to stop the pain.

Index Death and Dying     Next Alzheimer's Disease


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Editor dr. Albert Benschop
Social & Behavioral Studies
University of Amsterdam
Created September, 1996
Last modified 11th February, 2018