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May 7, 1960


JAMA. 1960;173(1):58-59. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020190060013

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DEVELOPMENTS during the past two years indicate that the electronic computer is rapidly achieving a place as a recognized tool of medicine. Although most of the applications so far have been exploratory, it is apparent from the results obtained that another important tool is rapidly developing to assist the physician and clinical investigator. The clinical application is described in this issue of The Journal by Schenthal and others, page 6. Electronic computers are basically of two types, the analog and the digital. The analog type of computer has long been familiar as the electrocardiograph and the electroencephalograph. The basic principle of an analog device is to measure one or more input variables and to transform them into proportional units of electricity. Thus, various aspects of the heartbeat are transformed into electrical current which is then visually presented by means of an ink graph. The analog computer can perform arithmetical manipulations

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