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Books, Journals, New Media
November 16, 2005


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(19):2503-2504. doi:10.1001/jama.294.19.2503

Fear is a basic human emotion, shared with nonhumans. But unlike animals, humans can experience damaging, learned fear as well as healthy, circumscribed fear. In False Alarm, Marc Siegel, a New York City internist and print-media columnist, shares his experience during the 4 years following September 11, 2001, and thoughts and advice about the pervasive epidemic of fear during that time.

Siegel takes readers through the September 11 attacks; the anthrax scare; and fears about smallpox and gas bioterrorism agents, severe adult respiratory syndrome (SARS), and mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE]). He contends that, although a potential threat to human wellness existed in each instance, perceptions of the threat were exaggerated and excessively personal.

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