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The cough is one of the most common physiological indicators, yet it has only limited and incidental diagnostic value.
This is due, at least in part, to the lack of an objective, quantitative means of evaluating the cough, says Robert G. Loudon, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.
Dr. Loudon, who has spent almost five years studying various aspects of coughing, believes that despite numerous technical difficulties, it should be possible to make a quantitative study of the cough, and perhaps enhance its diagnostic value.
"I think the approach to cough, so far, has been to regard it as a symptom, something of which a patient complains, rather than as a sign, that is, something which a physician can observe," Dr. Loudon told The Journal.
"When you can translate some manifestation of disease from the category of symptoms to the category of signs then you have gained something
New Diagnostic Data From an Old Symptom?. JAMA. 1965;193(6):27–28. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090060149039