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September 8, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(10):781-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520100053008

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We have not heard that the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes has been discontinued or materially diminished by the almost unanimous protest of the French physicians. It is a difficult matter to handle, and such religio-medical resorts will probably always be in favor with certain classes, notwithstanding the perils they involve. If faith were the power to control man's physical ailments that some claim it to be, such excursions ought to be conducive to the public health, but it is a simple matter of observation and statistics to prove that they are just the opposite. A few cases may be benefited from the psychologic effect, but a much larger number are likely to be made worse, and the aggregation of disease in such places and in such pilgrimages is a special opportunity for the spread of contagion and infection. One need not accept all that Zola has described to admit this;

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