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Are All Diseases Infectious? Another Look

Bennett Lorber, MD
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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(12):989-990. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-131-12-199912210-00101
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Three years ago, I pointed out that a quiet revolution was taking place in our understanding of disease (Ann Intern Med. 1996; 125:844-51). Emerging evidence suggested that transmissible agents caused or contributed to many illnesses that were previously thought to be degenerative, inflammatory, or neoplastic in origin, and I lamented the lack of attention to this important new model for disease. During the past 3 years, more illnesses have been linked to infections, and evolutionary biologists as well as the popular media are paying attention (The Atlantic Monthly. 1999; 283:41-53). In many instances, technological advances, such as polymerase chain reaction and representational difference analysis, have been able to identify an organism when traditional techniques, such as culture, had failed.

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