Medicine: Stress & Strain

Sob, heavy world Sob as you spin,

Mantled in mist, remote from the happy . . .

— The Age of Anxiety, by W. H. Auden

When the physicist wants to ascertain stress, he bows to the memory of Robert Hooke*, measures all the forces involved. and from them calculates the amount of pressure or tension in inanimate matter. up to the breaking point. Doctors have no such easy time of it. Ever since Montreal's Dr. Hans Selye announced his theory of how stress causes disease through the "general adaptation syndrome" (TIME. Oct. 9, 1950), physicians have recognized that people can get serious illnesses...

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