Reviews Book

Lovers and Livers: Disease Concepts in History

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 22 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:702
  1. Judith Green, senior lecturer in sociology (
  1. department of public health and policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Conventionally, medicine deals with those troubles that we agree to define as diseases. However, the selection of diseases from the range of problems that afflict us is neither inevitable nor straightforward, as illustrated by the much debated candidate cases of those alphabet disorders of modernity such as RSI (repetitive strain injury) and ME (myalgic encephalopathy).Given the large body of work that explores the emergence, construction, and negotiation of diseases, Duffin perhaps makes heavy weather of convincing readers that diseases are not merely biological categories, but emerge when social demand and medical possibility coalesce.

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    Jacalyn Duffin

    University of Toronto Press,


    pp 229

    ISBN 0802038050


    Her first case study is lovesickness. …

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