When the inaugural issue of the Harvard Health Letter was published in November 1975, it was the first general health newsletter for the public at large. In its 30th anniversary issue, the newsletter looks back on how health and medicine have changed and speculates about what the next 30 years might bring.
Dr. Anthony Komaroff, editor in chief of the Harvard Health Letter, notes that in the mid-1970s, medical science had just recently figured out how to manipulate DNA and determine the structure of individual genes. The understanding of how lifestyle affects health was also in its infancy.
The relationship between doctors and patients was shifting. "With the Vietnam War just ending and the Watergate scandal a recent memory, many Americans were less inclined to trust authority from any quarter, including doctors. They were more likely to say, 'Don't tell me what to do, doctor. Tell me my options,'" explains Dr. Komaroff.
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