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Psychother Psychosom. 1975;26(1):2-11.

Cultural influences on the incidence and pattern of disease.


Society and its doctors influence disease patterns; examples are taken from two world wars. The high incidence of ulcerative colitis in Jews is seen as cultural rather than racial; differences and changes in the sex incidence of the disease are discussed in terms of altered male versus female rĂ´les. The epidemiological puzzle of multiple sclerosis is examined from the standpoint of a cultural determinant possibly working through a psychosomatically disordered immune response. Hypotheses are advanced for the epidemic of duodenal ulcer and its recent decline accompanied by an increase in coronary disease. Sufferers from both disorders are 'work-addicts'; society's new disregard for work and the Puritan ethic may be influential.

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