1A01, 1A03, 2C01
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Medicine, like many other scientific fields, is founded upon the classical Cartesian method of reductionism, where a problem is broken down into its smallest components, examined, and then the information gleaned used to draw conclusions about the nature of the larger reality. Fundamental to this approach is the requirement that the problem being examined is a linear system (Table 1). When this is the case, the reductionist approach is a great success and the clinician may rightly feel confident in predicting the outcome of an intervention. An example of this might be the response of blood glucose to a dose of exogenous insulin.2 Frustrations arise however when the problem we wish to examine is not a simple linear...

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