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January 30, 1897


Author Affiliations

Alienist and Neurologist of the Alexian Brothers' and Michael Reese Hospitals, Chicago; formerly Medical Superintendent of the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane, and Pathologist of the Cook County Insane Asylum; author of "Spinal Concussion," "Comparative Physiology and Psychology," etc. CHICAGO, ILL.

JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(5):193-198. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440050001001

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What is pain? The question to the mass of suffering humanity would appear absurd. The one who has experienced pain fancies that he knows what it is, just as

"The primrose by the river's brim A yellow primrose is to him, And nothing more."

But to the philosopher, and especially to the physiologist, the nature of pain, in common with the nature of all other life phenomena, has a significance unknown to those not given to such analysis.

Consciousness is requisite in pain appreciation as well as any kind of feeling. The suppression or blunting of consciousness notoriously suppresses or blunts pain. The cognizance of pain being a cerebral process involving consciousness, cutting off the route to the brain by which pain is conveyed to consciousness disposes of the pain, but not of the cause originating it. Too many pain alleviators are mere deadeners of sensation. The inebriate "drives dull

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