A New View of Disease

Stewart Wolf, MD
JAMA. 1963;184(2):129-130. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700150001014.
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IN CONSIDERING the nature of disease, man, over the course of recorded history, has vacillated between placing the blame on outside hostile forces and on himself. One hundred years ago the work of Pasteur made it appear that the question was settled decisively in favor of the outside forces and yet even as Pasteur was inducted into the French Academy, his opponent, Pidoux, objected that, "Disease is the common result of a variety of diverse external and internal causes [that] bring about the destruction of an organ by a number of roads which the hygienist and the physician must endeaver to close."1 In our day, Rene Dubos2 reminds us that we create new diseases for ourselves as rapidly as we subdue some of the old ones. The new diseases stem from the way we manipulate our environment, social as well as physical, and the way we react


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