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December 1959

Needed: More Emphasis on Disease Prevention in Internal Medicine

Author Affiliations

Tulane University School of Medicine 1430 Tulane Ave. New Orleans 12

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(6):845-847. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270120001001

Preventive medicine is currently defined1 as the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental health and efficiency. Such objectives are rightfully an integral part of the practice of internal medicine, but few would deny that preventive measures tend to be displaced by the more strictly curative efforts of the busy practitioner.

The ounce of prevention is too often overshadowed by the pound of cure. The unhappy results of this imbalance are found in medical wards, clinics, and physicians' offices everywhere. Examples include not only such obvious instances as the unvaccinated young adult with paralytic polio and the grossly overweight diabetic but also the patient with chronic pulmonary disease whose earlier asthmatic state was inadequately treated, the person with advanced rheumatic carditis who escaped proper prophylaxis, the peptic ulcer patient whose behavior invited recurrence and complication, the cirrhotic who could have been salvaged by

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