Medicine: Righting the Boat

More than most men, doctors respect the human body. James Howard Means, Harvard professor of clinical medicine, has so keen a regard for the body's complex hormone-producing system that he urges his fellow doctors to be wary of tampering with it. He is particularly worried by "the present all-prevailing ACTH-cortisone furor."

If the body's hormone system is out of kilter, says Dr. Means, the sound thing to do is simply to make up the deficiency—e.g., give thyroid hormone to a patient whose thyroid gland is not producing enough. But that is not what a doctor does, says Means, when he gives...

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