Creativity broadens search for cures

February 19, 2005

Creative solutions can be searched for, and, where possible, augmented by a Web-based application that finds unexpected links between disparate but related topics.

Creative solutions can be searched for, and, where possible, augmented by a Web-based application that finds unexpected links between disparate but related topics.

"What I've tried to do is to teach how to use this ability to think creatively and apply it specifically for the development of medical hypotheses. You need new hypotheses to account for different anomalies to existing theories," says Harvey Arbesman, M.D., M.S.

Tools for generating hypotheses include the creative problem-solving process, which involves understanding the challenge, generating ideas, and preparing for action.

A free software program called Arrowsmith can help in the creative process by finding in the published literature various studies that possibly share the two desired topics. Physicians must decide which, if any, links are meaningful.

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