Medicine: Mind v. Body

When laymen say that someone died of a broken heart, they really mean a broken ego. Physicians agree that a deep blow to one's personality may lower physical resistance in some cases. Poorly handled losses have already been pointed to as triggers for many diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, heart failure. Question remains: does ego-damage really precipitate illness?

A University of Rochester psychiatrist-internist team studied 42 average semiprivate patients at Strong Memorial Hospital. They were selected only on the basis of age (18 to 45) and because they happened to be in...

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