by David Spiegel, 316 pp, $23, New York, NY, Times Books, 1993.
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At the turn of the century there was little physicians could do to treat chronic tuberculosis, an illness that frequently foretold a lifetime of uncertain medical care and debilitation. During the preantibiotic era, an observant spa physician noted that consumptives who participated in lectures, social activities, and group learning experiences seemed to have a better clinical course. Though this observation was perhaps apocryphal, and certainly unproven, there was something inherent in the group process that extended the quality of life, although none thought of this as curative.
Einspruch BC. Living Beyond Limits: New Hope and Help for Facing Life-Threatening Illness. JAMA. 1994;271(18):1457. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510420095045