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January 30, 1932


JAMA. 1932;98(5):406. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730310046015

Modern physiology has been largely devoted to the attempted verification of a variety of inherited or traditional beliefs and dicta that have become incorporated into its teachings. Empiric judgments are often demonstrated to be trustworthy when they are investigated by the methods of objective experiment. With the progress of science, some of the illusions or unjustified assumptions of our predecessors are gradually being dispelled. The day of hypotheses has by no means vanished; but physicians have little patience with a new idea that does not have experimental evidence in its favor. As one student of medical history expressed it, the modern physician does not rely on a philosophical system.

One of the current beliefs is that constipation as it is known in present-day medical practice is in many or perhaps most instances a result of changed conditions of living and habits of eating. An unequivocal expression of this assumption is