JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor:
Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.
BY GEORGE M. GOULD, M.D.
The ranchman has his annual round-up; the merchant his yearly account
of stock and balancing of books; the machinist gives his engine a thorough
going-over at regular intervals; every military organization has its reviews
and inspections, every government its budgets—indeed, every financial
hair of the commercial head is noted, and not a sparrow of the hunter. Success,
falls to the ground unnumbered; those that do not fall are even more accurately
numbered. But it is not so concerning the one piece of mechanism that conditions
all these things, and that is the most valuable of all earthly possessions—the
human body. For all practical consideration a man's body is his life, and
yet civilization has come so far without any systematization of the business
and mechanics of the entire single and personal life. The science of bodily
living in its complete extent still awaits its discoverer. . . . The crowning
work of scientists is to turn science into prescience. The unification of
the sciences dealing with the conduct of life; the making practical and useful
our knowledge of the individual organism; and lastly to establish a scientific
prescience—such are the ideals of a living anthropology. . . . Is it
not at once plain that these ideals can be realized only by a system of periodic
examinations and records made every year or every five years, throughout the
life of the individual organism. . . .
A SYSTEM OF PERSONAL BIOLOGIC EXAMINATIONS—THE CONDITION OF ADEQUATE MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC CONDUCT OF LIFE.. JAMA. 2000;284(3):282. doi:10.1001/jama.284.3.282