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September 15, 1993

Old Times: Nasty, Brutish, and Short—but at Least No Injected Pharmaceuticals

JAMA. 1993;270(11):1319. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510110055028

To the Editor.  —The article by Goldsmith1 states that "mismatches between the genetically determined physical, emotional, and psychological needs of human beings and their current environment... are at the root of many somatic and mental disorders today." No doubt, our technology and our skill in altering our external environment have far outpaced our individual ability to adapt. But is the answer to treat healthy physiology with drugs, as Goldsmith's discussion of Dr Eaton's work implies?I am stunned at the suggestion that the conflict between women's present-day social and career strivings vs their ancestral biology, which perhaps makes it physically healthier to have children earlier in life, be resolved with pharmaceuticals. Female biology is not a pathology that mandates intervention. It is a pervasive fact of life that myth and medicine have long served to mystify and deny. In the past, menstruation and pregnancy were often viewed as pathological