Medicine has become all about finding a problem — a tumor, a heart attack, a failing kidney — and deploying advanced treatment technologies. In the process, we seem to have given up on measuring and tracking what constitutes normal.
Thomas Goetz asserts, I think correctly, that this results in overmedicalization (something sport's research uncovers as often being hyper-gendered).
Imaging and scanning tools are now so good at peering inside our bodies, they've surpassed our capacity to interpret the results. Many findings are what doctors call "incidentalomas," smudges that look like cancer but turn out — often after surgery — to be benign.
The article goes awry in two ways. The logical leap at the end of the article ("all [NIH] grants are given a "priority score," an indication of a project's novelty, originality, and "scientific merit." Normal need not apply") is poorly teased out. The NIH may consider the massive effects of a change of perspective as nonmeritorious, but that needs to be more firmly established. More important, there are many, MANY problems with linking boundary conditions of health with "normal." I don't have time to list them all here now (although I will try to write more on this later), but I will say that a more productive line of inquiry might emerge from embodied or phenomenological examination of these things. We should let people define what is livable and help them (as well as the experts) understand what lies ahead and give them the tools to make the most informed choice.