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November 1966

The Psychological Aspects of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(5):518-519. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290170106039

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This mercifully brief book is 138 pages too long. It is an unparalleled example of poor scientific reporting. An introductory chapter on physical aspects of rheumatoid arthritis uncritically discusses treatment, citing with equal emphasis gold salts, corticosteroids, intravenous copper, phenylbutazone, indomethacin, bismuth, and salicylazosulfapyridine. Many of the theories the author discusses have been abandoned for 20 years or more. There are gratuitous credits to investigators out of proportion to their contributions in those particular areas. The psychological theories and claims are presented just as haphazardly. Of the 22 patients (called "rheumatoid arthritics") studied, nine supposedly have gout as well as rheumatoid arthritis. There are 22 "matched" controls suffering from disorders ranging from diabetes and duodenal ulcer to pain in the side (undiagnosed), parasthesia, allergy, dermatitis, and bursitis!! The conclusions drawn from the study are remarkable. Comparing rheumatoid arthritis and gout, for example, the author, a consulting psychologist, finds that "where

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