Health Scientifically Sought

A recent theory respecting disease, which has found utterance by no less an authority than Sir Frederick Treves, is to the effect that "the motive of disease is benevolent and protective," and that if it were not for disease "the human race would be extinct." In his address before the Philosophical Society, in Edinburgh, he elaborated the foregoing statements, and referred, by way of illustration, to different forms of disease, including coughs and colds, which, he maintained, "were in the main manifestations of a cure." This theory is by no means new; it comes up from time to time, but never to remain, nor even to meet with temporary acceptance, so far as its practical application is concerned. It is all very well to tell sufferers that a cough and the usually attendant fever have come for the benevolent purpose of driving out a cold; it is too evident that they are worse than the cold, and the question is, What is to drive them out?

It often happens that conscientious physicians, who have come to doubt the efficacy of drugs, advise their patients to abandon their use and rely upon "nature" for their healing; but this is like telling a frightened child to go out into the dark in quest of needed help. The patient may well ask how nature can restore the health it did not preserve. Such advice practically takes away the lame man's accustomed crutch, and suggests his seeking help from an unknown source.

Letters to our Leader
November 18, 1905

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