August 7, 1981

Psychonephrology 1: Psychological Factors in Hemodialysis and Transplantation

Author Affiliations

Cook County Hospital Chicago


edited by Norman B. Levy (conference, Brooklyn, NY, 1978), 287 pp, with illus, $25, New York, Plenum Medical Book Co, 1981.

JAMA. 1981;246(6):683. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320060085032

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This book could be a disappointment to the nephrophile hoping to learn that the kidney is the seat of the soul or that wanderings of the kidney, like wanderings of the uterus, cause hysteria. For the 39 "psychonephrologists" whose deliberations are collected in this volume seem to view the kidney itself with scant affection. Instead, their preoccupations center on the social and psychological difficulties of the victims of what is described as the culture lag arising because "the soft technology of rehabilitation lags behind the hard technology of the dialyzer."

The book opens with Dr Eli Friedman describing what dialysis is all about and committing the psychonephrologic Freudian slip of describing hemodiafiltration as "terminal hemodiafiltration." He then briefly discusses the uremic toxins, whose effect on the brain, Dr Paul Teschan points out, may be quantitated by EEG and other techniques. The rest of the book is devoted to the psychological