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Deutsch, F. (1946). Symptoms of Visceral Disease: By Francis Marion Pottenger, M.D. Sixth Edition. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Co., 1944. 442 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 15:114-115.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 15:114-115

Symptoms of Visceral Disease: By Francis Marion Pottenger, M.D. Sixth Edition. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Co., 1944. 442 pp.

Review by:
Felix Deutsch

In the new preface to the sixth edition of this book—first published in 1919—Pottenger added a paragraph stating that 'an attempt has been made in this book to show that man is a unit, acted upon by many forces—some psychical, some physiologic, some pathologic'. There are scattered statements confirming this attempt such as: 'every function in life has a psychic bearing', and 'emotional and psychic stimuli influence cellular action, and that this received far too little attention in the study of pathologic-physiologic states'. This had a very important bearing in his study of reflexes because reflexes can be both discharged and modified by stimuli of psychic origin. He expresses the opinion that there exists no marked physical or psychic stimulus which confines its action to the system in which it arises and that some psychic stimuli show a preference for the sympathetic and others for the parasympathetic divisions of the vegetative system. It is not clear what the author means by 'major emotions' which he asserts are expressed through the sympathetic system by way of the centers in the diencephalon.

There is a short paragraph of general considerations on the subject of changes of body control by psychic activity: 'As a reflex is the basis of physical action, the idea is the basis of psychic action and as normal function on the part of the nervous system is essential to the physical equilibrium, so are normal trends of thought necessary to a mental or psychical equilibrium… It is rare to see one with a disturbed psychic equilibrium who does not have some disturbed physiologic functions. Wrong trends of thought, if persisted in, are usually followed by pathologic change in physiologic action.

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