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Rheumatic Diseases and the Environment
  1. A D DAYAN

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    Rheumatic Diseases and the Environment Editors: ld kaufman, j varga. (Pp xiv+253; £) 1999. London: Arnold. ISBN 0–412–07911–9.

    Popular belief associates “the rheumatism” with a poor environment, especially oncoming wet weather. This very readable book discusses just about every other form of environmental factor and more formally defined rheumatic diseases but has difficulty in crystallising belief into fact or even well supported possibility. The problem often is what a recent British politician unblushingly termed “economy of the actualité”.

    The editors have provided us with a very good and quite multinational set of authors, some of whom have been critical of their own and their colleagues' ideas and data, but others have been content just to reproduce popular reports, even conflicting ones, without attempting to analyse, criticise, and decide on the validity and the value of the claimed associations. If I want unrestricted and unconsidered information I can go to the Internet and be swamped. If I read a book I want learned opinion and justified criticism.

    The initial chapter …

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