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January 9, 1932


JAMA. 1932;98(2):144-145. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730280052014

Today, even in the face of the great strides made by both personal hygiene and preventive medicine, waste of life through preventable disease and death continues. The cost of illness in the United States runs into millions of dollars. If the potential earnings of those who are afflicted are taken into account, the loss reaches staggering figures. Years ago, in discussing the general value of increased vitality, Fisher1 indicated that money estimates of waste of life are necessarily imperfect and sometimes misleading. The real wastes can be expressed only in terms of human misery. Poverty and disease are twin evils and each plays into the hands of the other. From each spring vice and crime. Again, whatever diminishes poverty tends to improve health, and vice versa. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, when Fisher made his statement, it was claimed that by the reasonable application of scientific knowledge

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