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October 25, 1971

Salute to the Clinical Pathologists

JAMA. 1971;218(4):587-588. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170065016

This year the American Society of Clinical Pathology observes its 50th birthday. As part of its celebration the Society had dedicated in Chicago a new building, its Center for Continuing Education. It also is inaugurating "The Year of Pathology" to acquaint both physicians and laymen with the scope of pathology.

This program prompts some reflections on the place of pathology in modern medicine.

In an earlier and simpler day, when medical practice was not so dependent on masses of "tests," medicine had five distinct divisions. The first, physiology, derived its name from physis—nature. Physiology described the phenomena that took place "according to nature," and thus dealt with the "normal." (Those were the days when people knew what "normal" meant.) Pathology, on the other hand, studied the phenomena that were "contrary to nature," ie, the abnormal which represents disease. The third branch of medicine was hygiene, which had to do

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