The Geography of Non-Infectious Disease

by M. S. R. Hutt and D. P. Burkitt. xvi + 164 pages, illustrated. Oxford University Press, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016. 1986. $22.95

It would have been quite proper to have included the term “chronic” in the title of this text in which, according to the foreword, the authors “… have eschewed unpalatable statistics and have presented their results in such an attractive form that they read … like the clues in a detective story ….” (They also have eschewed references.) In the preface the authors note that they have omitted consideration of disorders “… which are primarily, genetically determined, congenital diseases, those due to pure vitamin deficiencies, and occupational disorders.” They do describe many diseases associated with infective agents, saying that “common usage” makes the term “non-infective” acceptable. The purist might say that this form of abracadabra leaves them free to consider any chronic disease they may choose; the purist would be right.

Their data and their etiological hypotheses are presented in 13 chapters on organ systems, ranging from the alimentary tract to the endocrine glands, sandwiched between introductory and concluding chapters.