Letter: In the mind

In reply to Robin Blake's review of The Sickening Mind by Paul Martin (Review, 23 February), all medical students are taught the clinical features of idiopathic and psychosomatic illnesses and the importance of the doctor/patient relationship. There is a vast (clinical) literature from "the paper rose" as a trigger of an asthma attack to case studies where a cancer followed soon after the psychological shock of life crisis, (such as bereavement). Doctors do not "forget" after drawing "a few vague maps" and not "face" the possibilities.

These missing links and triggers are (ultimately) biochemical. This is where the work he quotes of Aden and Cohen on conditioning of suppression of the immune system is a highly important lead to further discovery and knowledge of the psychological relationships to illness as well as, hopefully and eventually, improved treatment.

Dr Pamela Aylett

Westminster Hospital