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April 7, 1962

Quantophrenia, Lung Cancer, and Common Sense

Author Affiliations

1040 Fifth Ave., New York City 28

JAMA. 1962;180(1):87. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050140089026

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To the Editor:—  In The Journal (175:997 [March 18] 1961), under the impressive title of "Some Thoughts on the Causation of Chronic Disease," Drs. Wynder and Day issued another blast in the lung cancer-smoking controversy. Their passionate communication paid great homage to statistical surveys, belittled the necessity for biological parameters, and concluded with an appeal to common sense. The latter is an excellent suggestion and merits further elaboration.During the past decade, epidemiologists have applied a relatively new discipline, biometry, to establish the etiology of lung cancer. In a remarkably short period a problem which defied biological research for 150 years was readily solved by statistical data. The absence of unequivocal biological confirmation was embarrassing but inconsequential.The problem resolves itself into whether a statistical association between 2 variables, smoking and cancer, is sufficient to establish a causal relationship, particularly when the same data show a relationship between smoking

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