School of Social and Political Science

Gill Haddow

Job Title

Senior Lecturer


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Building (Address)

Old Surgeons' Hall

Street (Address)

High School Yards

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Post code (Address)



I have a background in the sociology of health and medicine and have developed a special interest in emerging scientific and medical biotechnologies. Conceptually I have brought these areas together through a focus on embodiment, identity and relationships. Areas of research in the last ten years have included animal-human transplantation; genetic databases; implantable smart technologies; organ transplantation and donation and telemedicine. More recently, I have become interested in ideas of cyborgs, hybrids, bio fabrication and phenomenology. I enjoy working in and on the interface between ethics, medicine and society studying the processes and outcomes that new and emerging technologies produce for individuals, groups and society (and perhaps vice versa?). In 2013 I was awarded a Wellcome Trust University Award for the project 'Animal, Mechanical and Me: The Search For Replaceable Hearts'. To see the outcome of this project as an artistic output and as a collaboration between young people, ICD patients, artists, and others see the documentary Everyday Cyborgs and Humanimals:

Edinburgh Research Explorer profile

Undergraduate Teaching

Sociology of Medicine:

From the moment we are conceived to the time of our death, medicine plays a profound role in all of our lives. But how should we understand ‘medicine’ as a domain that has become so ubiquitous in the modern world? And how might social scientists study it?


Haddow, G. (in press 2021) Embodiment and Everyday Cyborgs: Technologies of Altered Subjectivities, Manchester University Press, Manchester.

Haddow, G., (forthcoming June 2020) ‘Animal, Mechanical and Me: Organ Transplantation and the Ambiguity of Embodiment’ in Mason, K., and Boero, N. (eds.,) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, Oxford University Press, Oxford., 

Haddow, G. (forthcoming August 2020) ‘When I first saw Jesus he was a Cyborg’ in Gray, C., H, and Mentor, S (eds) ‘Modified Bodies: Living as A Cybernetic Organism’, Routledge.

Goldschmidt, P., Haddow, G., and Mazanderani, F., (forthcoming August 2020) (eds.,) Uncanny Bodies, Luna Press., Edinburgh.

Pickersgill, M., Chan, S., Haddow., G., Laurie, G., Sturdy, S., and Cunningham-Burley S., (2019). "Biomedicine, self and society: An agenda for collaboration and engagement." Wellcome Open Research 4: 9

Mittra, J., Mastroeni, M., Haddow, G., Wield, D., and Barlow, E. (2019) ‘Re-imagining Healthcare and Medical Research Systems in Post Devolution Scotland’Sociological Research Online, 24 (1): 55-72.

Ikegwuonu, T., Haddow, G., Tait J., and Kunkler, I., (2018). "Horizon scanning implanted biosensors in personalising breast cancer management: First pilot study of breast cancer patients views.” Health Sci Rep1(4): 30.

Haddow, G. and B. Barnes (2018). "STS and the Importance of Being a Collective: Gill Haddow Talks with Barry Barnes." Engaging Science, Technology and Society 4: 267-283.

Vermeleun, N., Haddow, G., Seymour, T., Faulkner-Jones, A., Shu, W., (2018) 3-D Bioprint Me: A Socio-ethical Analysis of 3-D bioprinting, Journal of Medical Ethics.  See blog So what is not to like about 3-D Bioprinting?

Harmon, S., Haddow, G., and Gilman L, (2016) ‘Implantable Smart Medical Devices: An Empirical Examination of Characteristics, Risks and Regulation’, Law, Innovation and Technology. 7, No 2 231-252

Haddow, G., King, E, Kunkler, I, and McLaren D., (2015) ‘Cyborgs in the Everyday: Masculinity and Biosensing Cancer’, Science and Culture.

Haddow G., Harmon, S., and Gilman L, (2015) ‘Implantable Smart Technologies (IST): Defining the ‘Sting’ in Data and Device’, Health Care Analysis. 1-18

Mikami, K., Alastair, K., and Haddow G., (2015) ‘The Life Costs of living with Rare Diseases: Cases of Huntingdon’s Disease and PKU’ in Kumar, D., and Chadwick, R., (eds) Genomics and Society, Elsevier Press, London.

Ikegwuonu, T Haddow, G.,  Tait, J Kunkler, I (2015) Recovering breast cancer patients’ views about the use of in-vivo biosensors to personalise radiotherapy treatmentInnogen Working Paper

Haddow, G., Mittra, J., Snowden, K., Barlow, E., and Wield D., (2014) From Sick Man to living lab – Narratives of Scottish health since devolution. Innogen Working Paper.

Harmon, S., Laurie, G., and Haddow, G. (2013) Governing Risk, Engaging Publics and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social ScienceScience and Public Policy, 40 (1) 25-33

S. Harmon & G. Haddow, (2012) "Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science" 12 Medical Law International 79-91.

Haddow G., Murray, L. & Cunningham-Burley, S., (2011). Can the governance of a population genetic data bank effect recruitment? Evidence from the public consultation of Generation Scotland. Public Understanding of Science. Vol. 20, No. 1 (January) 117-129

Haddow, G., Bruce, A., Sathandam, S., and Wyatt, J (2010) Nothing is really safe’: a focus group study on the processes of anonymising and sharing of health data for research purposes. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Haddow, G., Bruce, A., Calvert, J., Harmon, S., & Marsden, W. (2010). Not ‘human’ enough to be human but not ‘animal’ enough to be animal – the case of the HFEA, cybrids and xenotransplantationNew Genetics and Society, March, 29 (1) 3 – 9 .

Haddow, G. (2010) ‘The Phenomenology of Death, Embodiment and Organ Transplantation’, Sociology of Health and Illness, Vol. 24, No. 6 pp 92 – 113.  Reproduced with permission in Moore, L. J., and Kosut, M., The Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings, New York University Press, New York, 108-123.

Haddow G. (2009). We only did it because he asked us": gendered accounts of participation in a population genetic data collection. Social Science & Medicine. 69(7), 1010-1017

Roberts, A., Heaney, D., Haddow, G., & O'Donnell, C.A. (2009). Implementation of a national nurse-led telephone health service in Scotland: assessing the consequences for remote and rural localities. Rural and Remote Health.

Haddow, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., Bruce, A., & Parry, S. (2008). Generation Scotland: consulting publics and specialists at an early stage in a genetic database's development. Critical Public Health, 18(2), 139 - 149.

Williams, B., Entwistle, V., Haddow G., and Wells, M., (2008) Promoting research participation: Why not advertise altruismSocial Science and Medicine, Vol 66, 7 1451-1456

Williams, B., Entwistle, V., Haddow G., and Wells M., (2008) Placing evidence in context: A response to Fry’s commentary, Social Science and Medicine, Vol 66, 7, 1461-1462

Haddow, G., and Cunningham-Burley, S., (2008) ‘Tokens of Trust or Token Trust?: The case of Population Genetic Data Collections’ in ‘Trust, Health and Illness’ (eds) Alexandra Greene, Julie Brownlie and Alexandra Howson, Routledge.

Haddow, G, O’Donnell, K and Heaney, D. (2007) ‘Organisational identity and its role in the provision of unscheduled immediate health care’Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Volume 13, Issue 2, 179-185.

Haddow, G., Laurie, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., & Hunter, K. (2007). Tackling Community Concerns about Commercialisation and Genetic Research: A Modest Interdisciplinary Proposal. Social Science and Medicine, 64, 272-282.

Smith, B., Campbell, H., Blackwood, D., Connell, J., Connor, M., Deary, I., Dominiczak, A.F., Fitzpatrick, B., Ford, I., Jackson, C., Haddow, G., Kerr, S., Lindsay, R., McGilchrist, M., Morton, R., Murray, G., Palmer, C., Pell, J., Ralston, S., St Clair, D., Sullivan, F., Watt, G., Wolf, R., Wright, A., Porteous, D., & Morris, A. (2006). ‘Generation Scotland: the Scottish Family Health Study: A new resource for researching genes and heritability.’ BMC Medical Genetics, 7, 74.

Haddow, G. (2006). Because you’re worth it? The Taking and Selling of Transplantable OrgansJournal of Medical Ethics, 32, 324-328.

Haddow, G. (2005) ‘The Phenomenology of Death, Embodiment and Organ Transplantation’Sociology of Health and Illness, Vol. 24, No. 6 92 – 113.

Haddow, G. (2003) ‘Donor and non-donor families’ accounts of communication and relations with healthcare professionals,’ Progress in Transplantation, Vol.13, No. 2 1 – 7.

Presentations and Conferences (from 2014):
  •  Haddow, G., (May 2017), Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators: The Becoming of the Everyday Cyborg, University of Newcastle, Newcastle.
  • Haddow, G., (February 2017), Panellist, Enhancing Engagement, Co-production, and Collaborative Meaning-Making in Qualitative Health Research, UCL Qualitative Health Research Network, London.
  • Haddow, G, (August 2016) Everyday Cyborg: Ambiguous Embodiment and the Triad of I? 4S/EASST, Barcelona
  • Haddow, G., (February 2016), The Making of an Everyday Cyborg: Maggie’s Story, Silent Signal Symposium, QUAD, University of Derby.
  • Haddow, G, (September 2016) Everyday Cyborg Stories From the Inside Out, Wellcome Trust, London.
  • Haddow, G., (April 2016); The Ethics of Cyborgisation; The Ambiguity of Embodiment and The Triad of I, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield.
  • Haddow G., (January 2015) Conceptualizing Disability as a Public Health Issue: Impairment, Enhancement and Emerging Biotechnologies, Brocher Foundation, Switzerland.
  • Haddow, G., (2015) Everyday Cyborgs and ICD Muddles, BSA Medical Sociology, York, UK.
  • Haddow, G., (October 2014) Everyday Cyborgs and their Life with a Heart Device, The University of Copenhagen.
  • Haddow, G. (April 2014) Everyday Cyborgs and their Life with a Heart Device, Wellcome Trust Workshop, ‘Translational Bodies: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues, Prato, Italy.
  • Haddow, G, (January 2014) Me and Mine: What does Embodiment have to say about Property Rights? Broche Foundation, Geneva Switzerland.
  • Haddow, G., (November 2014) Animal, Mechanical and Me: Muddled Bodies, Muddling along; Nuffield Council of Bioethics, Barbican Centre, London.

Research interests

Research interests

Patient experiences, Cyborgs, Sociology of health and illness, Medical sociology, Qualitative Research Methods, embodiment, public engagement, Balance of power

With techno-scientific advances in biomedicine reaching old age without any bodily modifications is likely to become a rarity. Over time, and as individuals age, their bodies will increasingly become a collage of other people's organs and devices, used to repair the structure and function of diseased organs. Individuals will be less than one hundred per cent human, by becoming human bodies augmented by different types and kinds of artefacts. To reach old age, without any bodily modifications will become a rarity. The ‘born body’ of a human being, which began as one hundred per cent human, will become the exception rather than the rule and the ‘hybrid body’ the new norm. Alterations to the integrity of the individual’s body making it a hybrid, will have consequences for identity. Body modifications can result in alterations in subjectivity. These subjectivity alterations will partly be determined by the type and kind of material that is used to repair, replace or regenerate the body. The reliance on a technological ‘fix’ (in terms of addiction and solution) to solve health problems is creating new vulnerabilities, in terms of adjusting to a new organic-technological hybridity as well as allowing cybernetics to control body functions.

1) how do members of the public respond to hypothetical preferences for different types (mechanical) and kinds (animal or human) of organs to repair the human body;?

2) what are patient experiences of having undergone one type of body repair (such as implantable medical devices) and becoming an ‘everyday cyborg’;?

3) consider how responses to the above, address why bodily modifications alters the perception of the body depending on the origins of organs and devices modifications to the inside of the human body alters subjectivity in a variety of ways (dependent on the origin of organs and devices);?

4) and finally bring social science research into dialogue with biomedical and philosophical understandings of the connection between persons and their bodies; reflecting on this relationship as a fluid and dynamic experience whereby embodiment is always ambiguous.

To explore the first question, I conducted focus groups and a representative survey with young people in Scotland (age 11-17; n=1001). Responses showed that human options were favoured most, with the majority expressing a strong preference for a 3-D bioprinted organ created from their own cells [3.1]. Mechanical implants were not as popular as human options (3-D bioprinting or human organ donation), but not as unpopular as xenotransplantation (animal-to-human organ transplantation). Overall, results highlight the desire of maintaining the boundaries between animal and human beings as a species, but also between other humans as well as the integrity of the individual’s own body. Findings also showed that the nature and content of fears related to mechanical implants are different to organic ones. Attitudes ranged from “smart’ technologies being perceived as safe to challenging what is considered as natural or indeed “normal”.

Indeed, I had met with cardiologists at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary who pointed to patient questionnaires frequently showing that ICDs (implantable cardiac defibrillators) cause distress, anger, depression, anxiety and social isolation. Through in-depth interviews with ICD patients, I show that although these patients shared similar experiences with other cardiac patients they faced additional ones regarding device implantation and activation, i.e. adjusting to a body with a machine in it, they faced specific, and increased, vulnerabilities. The automatic device activation to stop a sudden cardiac arrest causes physical pain created by shocks, but also feelings of autonomy loss and a lack of control. However, findings demonstrate how patients overcome these vulnerabilities in time through viewing the ICD as ‘part of them,’ becoming everyday cyborgs.

The term ‘everyday cyborg’ was first coined in order to describe patients that are characterised by increased vulnerability and lack of control. The original use of the term ‘cyborg’ describes cybernetic adaptations to the body necessary to live in space but did not have any identity consequences for the astronaut (Clynes & Kline, 1960) [3.3]. Further, my research demonstrates that cybernetic technology does not cause dehumanisation as envisioned in popular culture and literature (e.g., ‘Robocop’). Despite modifications to the human body making it less human in organic terms, it does not alter a person’s subjectivity making them less humane. Instead, the research tells an important story about how everyday cyborgs and their families need understanding and support through the adaptations required to the cybernetic changes in embodiment and social life.

Completed projects

Other Research Activities

  • BrainWaves, Series 6, Radio Scotland
  • Cyborgs and Humanimals: Filmhouse, Edinburgh in May 2018.
  • Herald Newspaper: The Rise of Homo Technicans…half human and half machine 22nd January 2017.
  • The Big Idea for Schools, (September 2016) ‘Social and Ethical Consequences of Whole Genome Sequencing’, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Festival of Politics, August 2016. ‘Ex-Machina; Just another FemBot’? Discussion Panel, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
  • Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Edinburgh Fringe, (August 2016) ‘One-Stop-Human-Body Shop’.
  • Festival of Politics, August 2016. ‘Ex-Machina; Just another FemBot’? Discussion Panel, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
  • Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Edinburgh Fringe, (August 2016) ‘One-Stop-Human-Body Shop’.
  • Chair and Organiser (December 2016) Biomedical Research Ethics, Biomedical Ethics Film Festival, The University of Edinburgh.
  • Chair and co-organiser (May 2015 – onwards) Mason Institute Film Night; Ethics and Law at the Movies.
  • Co-organiser (September 2015) Symposium of Costumed Visons of Enhanced Bodies,The University of Manchester.
  • Chair and co-organiser: (May 2014) Mind the Gap: From Cell Discoveries to Therapies, Horizons in Human Cells, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.
  • Chair and co-organiser: (28th April 2014) Healing Hands: From Vitruvian to Mechanical Man, The Tent Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh.
  • Chair and organiser: (November 2013) Cyborg-ethics, Biomedical Ethics Film Festival,The University of Edinburgh.

PhD Topics

I am interested in identity, embodiment, organ transplantation, genetics, ARTs, public engagement, patient participation, as well as the impact that new and emerging biomedical technologies have more generally. Mostly using approaches from sociology of health, medicine and illness, and/science and technology studies and qualitative methods.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with (opening in new windows):

Current PhD Students

  1. Laura Donald (2019) Narrating chronic heart disease in contemporary British and American writing, 1980-present, Wellcome Trust Phd Studentship, University of Glasgow.

  2. Janet Philps (2020), What is Fascia? Anatomy School, University of Edinburgh.

  3. Rachel Simpson (2019) Robotic Surgery: New Sociological Explorations in Ethics and Embodiment, Alice Brown Scholarship, University of Edinburgh.

  4. Nathalie Dupin (2018) Interdisciplinary doctoral training: becoming a researcher across the disciplines.

  5. Anna Kuslits (2017) Representations of 18th Anatomical Artefacts (ESRC/Open Competition).

  6. Vassilis Galanos (2017) Mapping Human-Machine Symbiosis: STS Investigations of Artificial Intelligence and Cyborg Technologies

  7. Fiona Coyle (2016) CRISPR and the consequences of germline modifications (ESRC/Open Competition).

  8. Annie Sorbie (2016) What do appeals to the Public Interest do?

Completed PhD Students

  1. Malissa K Shaw: Embodied Agency and Agentic Bodies: Negotiating Medicalisation in Colombian Assisted Reproduction (2016)
  2. Alison Wheatley: Good Soldiers, Good Guys, and Good Parents: The Meanings of Donation and Donated Tissue in the Context of the Danish Donor Sperm Industry (2016) (3 min thesis finalist)
  3. Tirion Seymour: The Third Sector and the Shaping of Scottish Huntingdon’s disease services: organisations, identity and boundary work (ESRC/Open Competition) (2016)
  4. Tarmphong Chobisara: The Authentic Research Relationship in Biobanks Winner in the field of law for the Anglo-Thai Society Education Awards (2016)
  5. Leah Gilman: Qualifying Kinship: How do UK Gamete Donors Negotiate Identity-Release Donation (2017)
  6. Sara Bea: No Heroics, Please: Mapping Deceased Donation Practices in a Catalan Hospital (ESRC/Open Competition) (2017)
  7. Natalia Nino Machado (2018) ‘Growing Right’ Child Growth Standards in Colombia.
  8. Aoife McKenna (2019) Women’s Experiences of Contraceptive Sterilization in Brazil: A Qualitative Study.

Staff Hours and Guidance

My feedback hours during term time are on Mondays 9.30 to 11.30. You are welcome to make an appointment at other times

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Haddow G. Embodiment and everyday cyborgs: Technologies that alter subjectivity. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021. 216 p. (Inscriptions).
Haddow G. Animal, mechanical, and me: Organ transplantation and the ambiguity of embodiment. In Boero N, Mason K, editors, The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2020. p. 165-181
Mittra J, Mastroeni M, Haddow G, Wield D, Barlow E. Re-imagining healthcare and medical research systems in post-devolution Scotland. Sociological Research Online. 2019 Mar 11;24(1):55-72.
Pickersgill M, Chan S, Haddow G, Laurie G, Sridhar D, Sturdy S et al. Biomedicine, self and society: An agenda for collaboration and engagement. Wellcome Open Research . 2019 Jan 23;4:9.
Pickersgill M, Chan S, Haddow G, Laurie G, Sridhar D, Sturdy S et al. The social sciences, humanities, and health. The Lancet. 2018 Apr 14;391(10129):1462–1463.
Ikegwuonu T, Haddow G, Tait J, Murray AF, Kunkler IH. Horizon scanning implanted biosensors in personalising breast cancer management: First pilot study of breast cancer patients views. Health Science Reports. 2018 Apr;1(4):1-9. e30.
Vermeulen N, Haddow G, Seymour T, Faulkner-Jones A, Shu W. 3D bioprint me: A socioethical view of bioprinting human organs and tissues. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2017;43:618-624.
Haddow G, Harmon SHE, Gilman L. Implantable Smart Technologies (IST): Defining the ‘sting’ in data and device. Health Care Analysis. 2016 Sep 30;24(3):210-227.
Harmon SHE, Haddow G, Gilman L. New risks inadequately managed: The case of smart implants and medical device regulation. Law, Innovation and Technology. 2016 Feb 2;7(2):231-252.
Haddow G, King E, Kunkler I, McLaren D. Cyborgs in the everyday: Masculinity and biosensing prostate cancer. Science as Culture. 2015 Dec;24(4):484-506.
Mikami K, Kent A, Haddow G. The “life costs” of living with rare genetic diseases. In Kumar D, Chadwick R, editors, Genomics and Society: Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Socioeconomic Implications. 1st ed. London: Academic Press. 2015. 10
Haddow G, King E, Kunkler I, McLaren D. Cyborgs in the everyday: Masculinity and bio sensing prostate cancer. Science as Culture. 2015 Oct 2;24(4):484-506.
Ikegwuonu T, Haddow G, Tait J, Kunkler IH. Recovering breast cancer patients’ views about the use of in-vivo biosensors to personalise radiotherapy treatment. Edinburgh: IMPACT Project, 2015. 35 p.
Harmon S (Author), Lawrence D (Author), Haddow G (Photographer). Costumed Visions Network Launch Motley Coat: A Blog of the Mason Institute. 2015.
Kennedy M-R (Performer), Haddow G (Performer), Heeney C (Performer). Data Linkage in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC) MI YouTube Channel. 2015.
Mittra J (Author), Mastroeni M (Author), Haddow G (Author). Is Scottish Independence Bad for your Health? The Conversation. 2014.
Haddow G, Mittra J, Snowden K, Barlow E, Wield D. From 'Sick Man' to 'Living Lab': The Narrative of Scottish Health Since Devolution. 2014. (Innogen Working Paper Series; 108).
Harmon S, Laurie G, Haddow G. Governing Risk, Engaging Publics, and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social Science? Science and Public Policy. 2013 Jan 15;40(1):25-33.
Harmon S, Haddow G. Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science. Medical Law International. 2012 Jun;12(2):79-91.
Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Murray L. Can the Governance of a Population Genetic Data Bank Effect Recruitment? Evidence from the Public Consultation of Generation Scotland. Public Understanding of Science. 2011 Jan;20(1):117-129.
Haddow G, Bruce A, Sathanandam S, Wyatt J. Nothing is Really Safe: A Focus Group Study on the Processes of Anonymising and Sharing of Health Data for Research Purposes. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2011;17(6):1140-1146.
Haddow G. Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening. Technology and culture. 2010 Apr;51(2):532-533.
Haddow G, Bruce A, Calvert J, Harmon S, Marsden W. Not "Human" Enough to be Human but not "Animal" Enough to be Animal - the Case of the HFEA, Cybrids and Xenotransplantation in the UK. New Genetics and Society. 2010;29(1):3-17.
Haddow G. "We Only Did it Because He Asked Us": Gendered Accounts of Participation in a Population Genetic Data Collection. Social Science & Medicine. 2009 Oct;69(7):1010-1017.
Roberts A, Heaney D, Haddow G, O'Donnell CA. Implementation of a national, nurse-led telephone health service in Scotland: assessing the consequences for remote and rural localities. Rural and remote health. 2009;9(2):-. 1079.
Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Bruce A, Parry S. Generation Scotland: Consulting Publics and Specialists at an Early Stage in a Genetic Database's Development. Critical Public Health. 2008;18(2):139-149.
Laurie G, Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Hunter K. Tackling Community Concerns about Commercialisation and Genetic Research: A Modest Interdisciplinary Proposal. Social Science and Medicine. 2007;64(2):272-282. PMID: 17050056.
Smith BH, Campbell H, Blackwood D, Connell J, Connor M, Deary IJ et al. Generation Scotland: the Scottish Family Health Study; a new resource for researching genes and heritability. BMC Medical Genetics. 2006 Oct 2;7:-. 74.
Haddow G. The phenomenology of death, embodiment and organ transplantation. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2005 Mar 10;27(1):92-113.