series event

Living in risk: bodies and space in ‘early’ disease detection

This seminar has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


In this lecture, we will hear from Richard Milne in exploring how he considers the scientific, bodily and spatial practices associated with the growing scientific, clinical and policy emphasis on the early detection of disease, focussing on the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have been identified as matters of concern for national and international health policy and public health. Changing diagnostic criteria and new approaches to clinical trials have shifted the emphasis from symptomatic disease to ‘asymptomatic’ or ‘at-risk’ populations.

The assessment of disease represented in the new diagnostic categories reflects wider changes in the role of diagnosis, from the classification of patients, to the prediction of their future health based on their relationship with population models.  

This talk examines the production of knowledge about risk and ‘asymptomatic disease’ in the context of Alzheimer’s disease through the practices and spaces of the clinic, the laboratory and everyday life. It draws on ethnographic work within the context of Alzheimer’s research and clinical trials and with members of the public and research participants. It examines how contemporary innovation in the ‘detection’ of early disease states is co-produced with new notions of the ‘at-risk’ self, and particularly the relationship of ageing bodies with the spaces and practices of everyday life.    


About the speaker

Richard Milne is a sociologist of science, technology and medicine. He is based in the Society and Ethics Research Group at the Wellcome Genome Campus and in the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge. Richard’s research examines social and ethical questions associated with biomedical science and technology, particularly related to data, diagnosis and dementia. In recent years it has examined changing approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, notably the production of disease knowledges and categories and the acknowledgement and communication of risk and uncertainty. He currently leads a Wellcome Trust-funded project examining stakeholder perspectives on ethical challenges associated with data-driven approaches to dementia detection and diagnosis.                


Please note that this session will NOT be live-streamed/recorded.


No registration required. Seats available on first come, first served basis.


Anthropology and Sociology Hub