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April 28, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVI(17):1292. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02510440046013

It is often difficult, in medicine as in the ordinary affairs of life, to distinguish between coincidence and cause and effect. Medical men have been accused on more than one occasion of being particularly obtuse in this connection, but we can not see that they are worse than the rest of mankind. It will be remembered that in the winter of 1889-90 influenza reappeared among us, and that about the same time McBurney's point began to creep into the literature, and appendicitis became fashionable. The coincidence caused a not inconsiderable number of physicians to declare that the great increase in the incidence of appendicitis was due to influenza, and that this was capable of proof. To read many of the articles on the subject one might suppose that the matter was beyond question. Rostowzew,1 who has recently gone, over the whole subject very carefully, states that the belief that

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