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Medical News
March 21, 1964

Emotional Stress Can Aggravate But Not Cause Allergic Reactions

JAMA. 1964;187(12):27-28. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060250099049

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Emotional stress does not of itself produce allergic reactions, in the opinion of Maury D. Sanger, MD, attending allergist at the Veterans Administration Brooklyn Outpatient Clinic and assistant clinical professor of allergy at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Speaking before the American College of Allergists meeting in Bal Harbour, Fla, Mar 1-6, Sanger said that investigators' attempts to indict emotional stress as a sole cause of allergic reactions have been "universally unsuccessfull." Thus, he said, most investigators have concluded that:

"Allergy can be initiated by only an immunological antigen-antibody reaction, and, only after an allergic syndrome has been established that emotional stress may activate, aggravate, or complicate the existing allergic mechanism."

Paraphrasing the late Franz Alexander, MD, Sanger said that immunological factors, psychological factors, and an "onset situation" must be present to produce psychosomatic allergic illness.

Anxiety within the "healthy or consciously controllable zone" is often a stimulant to improved

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