WHAT'S IN a diagnosis?

"WHAT'S MAKING US SICK Is an Epidemic of Diagnoses" claims the headline of a recent New York Times essay (January 2, 2007; see also February 5 Sentinel). How will the public react to such a startling announcement? Maybe with a yawn. After all, publishing the harmful side effects of prescription drugs in recent years hasn't exactly devastated the pharmaceutical industry!

Some Christian Scientists have read the Times article—or even just the headline—and wondered how this disclosure may relate to an observation by Mary Baker Eddy. She thought often in terms of underlying mental forces. And long ago she saw the connection between diagnosis and disease. She wrote, "A physical diagnosis of disease—since mortal mind must be the cause of disease—tends to induce disease" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 370). This statement, of course, substantially deepens the link between diagnosis and disease. It draws important attention to the fact that there is a mental, more than a matter, basis of disease. Mrs. Eddy pressed the view that both the diagnosis and the disease are driven by mental elements. To name a disease and to accept a disease were, for her, events within a mental realm. The medical power of an authoritative naming of disease can fix in thought a fear that yields to it and lives it.

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