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July 12, 1995

Reflections and Recollections From a Long Life With Medicine

Author Affiliations

Rockefeller University New York, NY

JAMA. 1995;274(2):183-184. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530020101044

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The name of Jan Waldenström, professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Lund and physician-in-chief at Malmö Hospital in Sweden, is inextricably associated with the disease that bears his name, Waldenström macroglobulinemia, a disorder of unknown etiology in which there is an uncontrolled proliferation of plasma cells and lymphocytes leading to a marked increase in IgM protein in human serum. The disease, even when treated, almost invariably leads to a fatal outcome. But Waldenström's reputation extends far beyond the eponymous recognition of macroglobulinemia. His long and distinguished career in medicine has been characterized by clinical investigation of a high order and in diverse fields.

"Is it becoming canonical that the biological basis of human disease can be elucidated only by a reductionistic approach and that little can be learned from patient-oriented research?"

We live at a time when there is a lamentable dearth of clinical investigators, a situation recently

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