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July 10, 1996

Something 'New' in JAMA? Exploring Controversies

JAMA. 1996;276(2):158. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540020080033

In this issue of THE JOURNAL, we introduce a new section entitled Controversies. Controversy is defined as "a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views."2 Menken3 describes controversy as a disagreement in matters of opinion in which participants strive to convince others of the soundness of their perspectives, and suggests that controversy has been recognized as a meaningful and legitimate method of inquiry in the pursuit of knowledge. Clearly, there can be no significant controversy unless there are at least 2 alternatives, each of which has advocates and opponents, valid advantages and serious disadvantages, and unique tradeoffs and ramifications. For some issues in medicine, controversy, like uncertainty, may be both the compelling force and the final remainder.4

See also pp 159 and 161.

The Journal certainly has published many articles on topics that could be considered controversial and has tackled numerous issues that have engendered