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January 13, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(2):113-114. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460020049009

The power of the organism to adapt itself to pathologic conditions is a subject of broad biologic as well as medical interest. That pathologic adaptation is receiving thoughtful attention is well shown by the frequency with which it is chosen as the subject of general addresses before medical gatherings. Thus, Nothnagel spoke on this topic before the pathologic section of the eleventh International Congress, in Rome, in 1894; and Welch delivered an instructive and scholarly presidential address on "Adaptation in Pathological Processes," at the Congress of American Physicians and Surgeons in 1897. In this latter, Welch reviews some of the most striking examples of adaptation seen in human pathology—the hypertrophies, regenerations, inflammation—and reaches the general conclusion that "the healing power of nature is, under the circumstances, present in desire, frequently incomplete and imperfect, and systems of treatment based exclusively on the idea that Nature is doing the best thing possible

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