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PSYCHIC FACTORS IN GENERAL DISEASE

JAMA. 1927;89(13):1063. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690130051019.
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Appreciation of the influence of "mind over matter" is probably as old as humanity. Indeed, the priest physicians of ancient days relied on nothing else in the care of disease. The idea has, however, been abused by millions who, lacking the mental capacity to understand or evaluate facts, have toyed with the occult. The activities of these charlatans have tended to discredit attention given to the psychic element in visceral and somatic disorders. Another factor that has diverted attention from the psychic element in disease has been the great body of exact knowledge of tissue pathology, the gathering of which was initiated by Virchow. Accordingly, an occasional physician has excluded the word "neurosis" from his diagnostic nomenclature, and in a given case, if an underlying pathologic condition could not be found, has remained inactive as a therapeutist. His scientific spirit and his honesty have been laudable, but quacks have thrived

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