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March 23, 1984

The Healing Heart: Antidotes to Panic and Helplessness

Author Affiliations

University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Boston College Chestnut Hill, Mass

JAMA. 1984;251(12):1617. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340360073037

Health and Healing: Understanding Conventional and Alternative Medicine, by Andrew Weil, 285 pp, $13.45, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1983.

Consumerism in medicine carries a strong appeal for many patients. One of the most forceful advocates of this movement is Norman Cousins, former editor of the Saturday Review, whose earlier personal account of his selfaided recovery from lupus erythematosus was described in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (1976; 295:1458-1463) and at greater length in his book, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins' most recent work, The Healing Heart, describes the author's recovery from a serious myocardial infarction.

In this remarkable account of illness from the patient's point of view, Cousins describes his hospital course and subsequent negotiations with his physicians concerning his own diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The book includes a bibliography of recent studies in the psychosomatic factors of coronary disease. "Patient, heal thyself," is Cousins' advice.