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Perhaps the time has come to review at least one phase of medical research, the investigative phase. The perplexing problem today is not that the causes of arteriosclerosis and lung cancer evade us but that we evade the causes. First of all, what are our attitudes toward medical research in general, and how much faith can we place in it? What has medical research meant to those concerned, the investigator, the practitioner and the public?
In some instances, it has provided a means whereby one can establish himself in the scientific community irrespective of the quality of his output. It has created an environment favorable to expounding theories which may be based on little more than fantasy. It has meant that some research can be motivated by expediency—the zeal to produce for the sake of recognition, the pressure to accede to the demands of a service, and the urge to
MEDICAL RESEARCH. JAMA. 1960;173(6):685. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020240073017