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November 22, 1995

Medicine—More Than Molecules and Money

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1995;274(20):1587. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530200023025

To the Editor.  —In connection with Dr Eisenberg's1 thoughtful analysis of the problems facing medicine today, I wonder whether it may not be useful to draw a distinction between medicine, a body of knowledge, and the practice of medicine, the application of this knowledge. The body of knowledge as set forth in any textbook of medicine can be properly called a science because it is organized to reflect a theory and because it has been acquired by scientific methods. The theory is the one formulated by Virchow over a century ago that states illness is the manifestation of changes in the structure or function of organs, tissues, and cells; the scientific methods range from the systematic analysis of the relationship between clinical observations and pathological findings to test-tube experiments.It is the pride of the practice of medicine that it is based not merely on a body of knowledge

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