February 1964

Some Hoaxes in Medical History and Literature

Author Affiliations

Calgary Associate Clinic Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(2):291-296. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280080127022

"Out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer" (Judges V, 14)

Gleanings From the Commonplace Book of a Medical Reader

I really feel a bit self-conscious in writing about hoaxes in medicine. Some irreverent folk would say that medicine was a bundle of hoaxes and would point gleefully to our use of the placebo and to many of the trappings of the medical ritual. However, it is not that aspect of medicine that I want to discuss. That involves other considerations and an approach quite foreign to that in which I find myself at the moment. Then too I seem to detect in such banter a malicious undertone of cynicism, and it has been my experience that too much cynicism is in the end bad for the stomach. Rather, having due regard for the proprieties and in quite a lighthearted vein, I want to look at some

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