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July 24, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, University of Southern California School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1943;122(13):862-864. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840300022006

During the past two decades the study of functional disease has been pursued with great energy and enthusiasm in all fields of clinical medicine. The most likely causes for the greater attention paid to the functional factors in disease are the considerably increased incidence of functional disease, the comparatively high stage of knowledge of organic disease that has been reached and the development of psychiatry.

The increased frequency of functional disease is apparent to even the casual observer. Some workers1 have advanced the theory that nervous tension incident to the pressure and accelerated speed of modern living, especially under the highly artificial conditions in the big cities, is responsible, but this is only a partial explanation. The cause of the phenomenon is far more deeply rooted. The peoples of the Western World have long sensed and attempted to adjust to the approach of fundamental changes in their accustomed ways