2015 年 33 巻 p. 52-58
Recently, a modern medical strategy has been proposed in Japan. It is called "Preemptive Medicine." This paper described the main features of "Preemptive Medicine" and its theoretical framework from the medical philosophy viewpoint. First, I examined a definition and concept of "Preemptive Medicine." This medical strategy presents a preemptive intervention for persons at risk to become ill in the near future. Risk prediction depends on presymptomatic tests like genetic testing that could reveal hereditary characteristics and other possible biomarkers. This predictive medical intervention prior to onset might be a new fashion in preventive medicine. Second, I reviewed the definition and characteristics of existing preventive medicine in comparison with those of "Preemptive Medicine." I then noted that "Preemptive Medicine" was the primary type of preventive medicine, so-called primary prevention. Third, I surveyed a typical single book on "Preemptive Medicine" in Japan edited by Hiroo Imura. It depicted the present state of and some problems for realization of the new approach. Fourth, I considered the meaning of intervention for "potential patients" or persons without illness at present but with some risk of becoming ill. They could be distressed over their predicted future disease. Furthermore, the efficacy of the prevention is not sufficiently proven from the viewpoint of Evidence Based Medicine. Finally, I concluded that the characteristics of "Preemptive Medicine" are, as follows: (1) "Preemptive Medicine" is a new form of preventive medicine; (2) its goal is personalized primary prevention; (3) it might have some psychological and social implications for harm to "potential patients"; and (4) it needs to show validity in early predictive intervention.