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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 8, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(6):703. doi:10.1001/jama.295.6.703-a

As medicine grows older there is a tendency to discard some of the terms formerly used as being either inaccurate or unscientific. In some instances, a term, such as scrofula, has been rightly discarded, because it covered a variety of conditions, due to a variety of causes, and clinically separable. In other cases, terms have dropped into disuse because they were unfashionable or because it seemed that the condition they described was not scientifically proved to exist. Among this last group must be mentioned the so-called diatheses and temperaments about which our professional grandparents were so fond of speaking and which we so rarely mention. We probably tend nowadays in some ways to be too scientific, to discard terms too easily because we can not show actual pathologic evidence that they exist, forgetting that there are many conditions undoubtedly existent, of the pathology of which we are still ignorant. Among the diatheses, the lymphatic diathesis is the only one which seems at present to be on a firm anatomic basis.

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