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January 1986

Environmental Illness: A Clinical Review of 50 Cases

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Immunology, Department of Medicine, Stanford (Calif) University Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(1):145-149. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360130179024

A review of 50 patients with a clinical ecology diagnosis of environmentally induced illness is reported. Histories were extremely heterogenous. Eight patients had no symptoms or disease, 11 had symptoms caused by preexisting nonenvironmental disease, and 31 had multiple subjective symptoms. No consistent physical findings or laboratory abnormalities were found. Serum levels of immunoglobulins and complement, and circulating lymphocyte, B-cell, T-cell, and T-cell subset counts were not significantly abnormal. The diagnostic provocationneutralization procedure, environmental restrictions, and dietary advice of clinical ecology produced further symptoms and fear of environmental and food contaminants. The patients with chronic multisystem complaints had characteristic symptoms of psychosomatic illness, but this study does not support the clinical ecology theory that psychosomatic illness may be an expression of food and chemical sensitivities induced by the toxic effect of environmental chemicals on the immune system.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:145-149)

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