Paul-André Rosental, Catherine Cavalin, Michel Vincent

History and social sciences as medical research tools. The SILICOSIS Project and the investigation of the pathogenic effects of dust

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Keywords: Silica; Dust; Systemic Diseases; Sarcoidosis; Anatomopathology; History and Medicine.

The article presents a research on the potential role of silica dust in association with a range of systemic idiopathic diseases (sarcoidosis, systemic lupus, systemic scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis,...). In this interdisciplinary project, the recourse to history helps coordinating a medical knowledge which is fragmented: a) between disciplines (pulmonology, anatomopathology, internal medicine, pediatrics, genetics, occupational medicine); b) between specialists from the various diseases involved; c) between occupational and environmental diseases. History and the social sciences also help to understanding the «agnotological» processes of ignorance, forgetfulness and non-stabilization of knowledge. Collaboration with historians transforms, literally, the way how physicians question these diseases, whose risk factors are so transversal and heterogeneous that they become hardly visible.

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