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Darwinian medicine warns us not to wipe out depression-it may serve a purpose

As a teenager I suffered from hay fever, but not from rabbit’s tic or neuralgia rosa. Why? Because only the first of these is a real disorder; the others are pure invention. In principle, though, they too could exist. We know how pollen triggers the cells of the hay fever sufferer’s immune system into releasing a flood of histamine, the cause of all the undignified misery. It would not be hard to dream up some physiologically plausible chain of events to explain, say, why hearing a pure tone of a particular frequency might trigger a nervous twitch of the muscles…

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