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Predicting the future of medicine from the past

Predicting the future of medicine from the past

Àlvar Agustí takes a look at the changes that have taken place in medicine over the last forty years and considers possible future developments at the opening of the bachelor’s degree in Medicine by Pompeu Fabra University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

06.10.2017

Joaquim Gea, Vicent Fonollosa i Àlvar Agustí - UPF

Àlvar Agustí, professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona and head of the Chest Institute at Hospital Clínic Barcelona, yesterday gave the conference “Predicting the future of medicine from the past”, as the inaugural lesson for the bachelor’s degree in Medicine by Pompeu Fabra University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

The welcome ceremony to the fifth class of Medicine (UPF-UAB) was presided over by Vicent Fonollosa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the  Autonomous University of Barcelona, who introduced the session, and Joaquim Gea, dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at UPF, who introduced the speaker.

More than forty years of medicine

Dr Agustí enrolled in medicine in 1973 and since then has experienced many situations that are hard to forget, from the attempted coup d’état on 23 February, 1981 to the recent attack on the Ramblas of Barcelona, through the Hipercor attack that took place in 1986. During the 45 minutes of his talk, Agustí recalled some of the progress undergone by medicine over the last 44 years and also referred to possible advances in the not too distant future.

Computers, new imaging techniques (ECO, CT, MRI) or the appearance of diseases such as AIDS or mad cow are some of the changes that the medical field has experienced in forty years. “Some technological changes have even allowed the creation of new medical branches, as occurred with the pulse oximeter, which opened the door to sleep medicine and this, in turn, discovered the existence of new diseases”.

Àlvar Agustí - UPF

The application of genetics in medicine or the creation of minimally invasive procedures are improvements that few would have predicted in 1973. “But growth is not linear, but exponential. The changes that my generation experienced were huge, but surely the ones you will live will be even more so”. Thus, Agustí envisions the establishment of precision medicine, a new classification of diseases and a more integrative approach to health sciences.

“What’s between the ears”

In the daily life of a doctor, performing tests on patients is just as important as the preliminary study of their clinical history. “Which is the most important part of a stethoscope? The earpieces, the fibre, the bell...? The most important part of a stethoscope is what is between the ears: thinking is more important than any technology”. With this reflection Agustí concluded his inaugural lesson for the fifth class of the bachelor’s degree in Medicine (UPF-UAB), which has been given since the 2008-2009 academic year on the Mar University Campus jointly between Pompeu Fabra University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

 

 

Lliçó inaugural del curs 2017-2018 del grau en Medicina

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