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President Kennedy's Adrenals

John Nichols, MD
JAMA. 1967;201(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130020061014.
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While the late President Kennedy held public office, an aura of mystery prevailed regarding his endocrine status. During his campaign for, and brief tenure of, the presidency, rumors circulated that he suffered from chronic adrenocortical insufficiency (Addison's disease). Credence was given to these rumors by failure of his attending physicians to deny the allegations. Since his death, speculation continues partially related to failure of federal officials to release pertinent data.1,2 This is in marked contrast to the intimate details of President Eisenhower's several illnesses which were given wide dissemination in various news media. The moral and ethical issues were carefully considered by Lt Gen L. D. Heaton and his associates3 when they concluded the world had a right to know of the medical details of President Eisenhower's operation for regional enteritis. President Eisenhower agreed with this. This writer also agrees that the public is entitled to knowledge of

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