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July 21, 1923


JAMA. 1923;81(3):214-215. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650030038015

Classifications, like theories, are, only too often, clay idols which fetter the imagination of men. During their reign, however, they form a target to focus effort, and their very downfall marks the improved aim they have engendered; so we must welcome any attempt to organize the protean and perplexing phenomena variously known as allergy, anaphylaxis, idiosyncrasy and hypersensitiveness. Doerr1 and Coca and Cooke2 have been active in this work, and the classification evolved by the latter may be of interest.

Hypersensitiveness is chosen as the generic term and defined as "a state of susceptibility in man and animal that is mediated by a special mechanism that occurs naturally or is developed artificially, and which may be specifically influenced (toward increased or diminished sensitiveness) by the suitable administration of the exciting agent." The "special mechanism," e. g., the various immune bodies, may be demonstrated and artificially induced in anaphylaxis

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