Second Thought

Looking again at news and commentary

The New England Journal of Medicine,

"... Diseases of fashion exert a strong influence on medical practice—on what we and the public think about disease and what is treated. These are conditions that epidemically gain the medical limelight and in their time receive an inordinate amount of media and public attention.

"Please note that in no way am I making fun of patients' fears or the gravity of some of these disorders. What I am saying is that we are predisposed to diagnose, and our patients to worry about, the diseases that are in the news, popularized, and impressed on our minds. As an accompanying phenomenon, entrepreneurial specialists in and clinics for the various bandwagon diseases often spring up to capitalize on medical chic .... Cousins to diseases of fashion are media-sown disease panics.

FROM THE Directors
March 12, 1990

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