Medicine: Total Push

Like many another copybook maxim, the old saw about an idle mind being the devil's workshop has validity in psychiatry as well as in everyday life. A little over a year ago, Psychiatrist Louis F. Verdel, manager of the Veterans Administration Hospital at Northport, N.Y., began an experiment that leaned heavily on the maxim. Dr. Verdel decided to keep a test group of mental patients so busy that they would have no time to mope, brood or withdraw from reality.

Psychiatrist Verdel does not like the term "hopeless." But all 106 men in his pilot group, he said last week, had failed...

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