Foundations of a Misunderstanding of the Ultrastructural Basis of Myocardial Failure: A Reciprocation Network of Oversimplifications

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (2):109-146 (1989)
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Abstract

A misconception regarding the ultrastructural basis of myocardial failure has been observed in laboratory studies involving medical students and practicing physicians, in medical textbooks, and in clinical instruction of students. This misconception attributes heart failure to overextension of individual cardiac muscle fibres and their sarcomeres, resulting in a mechanically based decline in contractile force production. The basis of the misconception is a set of component misconceptions which interact in reciprocally supportive ways. The interlocking nature of the component misunderstandings strengthens the overall misconception, making it difficult to undermine. A contributor to many aspects of the faulty account of heart failure is a tendency toward oversimplification of complex phenomena in learning, instruction, and scientific research. Implications for medical education are considered

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