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March 1945

Symptoms of Visceral Disease: A Study of the Vegetative Nervous System in Its Relationship to Clinical Medicine.

Arch NeurPsych. 1945;53(3):256. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1945.02300030093016

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The subtitle of Pottenger's book is its best description. It is concerned with psychosomatic medicine in the strict sense. The author's background—he is a specialist in diseases of the chest—led him to the subject in an attempt to discover why one disease causes different symptoms in different patients. He finds much of the answer in analysis of the many factors involved in production of symptoms. These factors include a multiplicity of visceral reflexes with individual thresholds, relative sympathicotonia and parasympathicotonia, ionic intracellular differences and hypersensitivity phenomena. The principal emphasis is placed on the vegetative nervous system, which determines the division of the book into four parts: the introduction; the vegetative nervous system; its relationship to symptoms of visceral disease; and the innervation of important viscera, with the study of viscerogenic reflexes.

Pottenger's point of view is unitarian: His orientation is to the patient rather than to the disease. That he

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