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June 3, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVI(23):1783-1784. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580490031016

The scientific literature on fever, considered as a pathologic phenomenon quite independent of the ulterior cause, abounds in the rival claims of the so-called toxogenic and neurogenic theories. Virchow, as early as 1853, looked on fever as a neurosis — the condition being considered analogous to a paralytic state, with a failure of the control of some physiologic processes in the organism. This attitude has been attacked particularly on the ground that there is no very definite proof of the existence of special nerves which preside over the production of heat. Accordingly, it has seemed more likely to many students of fever that circulating poisons affect directly all the cells of the body, so that the latter react with a febrile intensification of their metabolism.2 A peculiar significance was given to the toxogenic theory, particularly with reference to the reported results of the fever-producing effects of extracts of certain

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