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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 25, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(24):3358. doi:10.1001/jama.289.24.3358

While theories come and go, apparently helpful for a time and sometimes actually lifting medical practice over hard spots in the road, only actual clinical observations become true stepping-stones to higher and permanent things. The simple discoveries in our southern states of intestinal parasites of several kinds hitherto supposed to be almost exclusively foreign in their habitat will almost assuredly do more to explain the chronic anemia thus far thought to be due to malaria than the many wonderfully reasoned out theories on the blood destructive power of malarial cachexia or of the long continued use of quinin with which medical meetings have been occupied as long as the memory of man runneth, in this country at least. From elaborate theories of insidious hemolysis or the inhibition of blood manufacture to the simple demonstration in the stools of the uncinaria or the so-called Cochin-China worm seems like a drop to bathos, but, as usual, theories sink at once to the limbo of oblivion when actual observation asserts itself.

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