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March 3, 1969

The Banyan Tree

JAMA. 1969;207(9):1706-1707. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150220122018

Despite Osler's assurance that "the leaven of science leavens the whole life of the physician," medical editors have been self-conscious about publishing basic science material. Some become downright apologetic. An editor of a leading medical journal1 felt constrained to defend the publication of a manuscript on molecular biology. His defense was based on the pure "pleasure of knowledge" as well as on the promise of "eventual fruit for the practice of rational medicine" inherent in the understanding of fundamental principles. Clinical decisions are often tied to basic science elements stored in the deeper levels of the mind. Self-consciously, albeit less apologetically, an editorial in the March issue of Archives of Internal Medicine2 justifies the publication of a symposium on investigative issues in diabetes mellitus by the close relevance of basic science to clinical medicine. Using this excellent symposium as a springboard, the editorial makes a plea for a