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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 25, 2013

The Growth of Medical Literature

JAMA. 2013;310(24):2680. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5484

Originally Published December 27, 1913 | JAMA. 1913;61(26):2304- 2305.

In his introductory address before the annual meeting of the German Congress for Internal Medicine for 1913, Penzoldt of Erlangen offered some sound and timely advice relating to the situations created by the enormous growth of medical literature in recent years.1 This eminent German teacher, while expressing his regret at the growing dispersion of internal medicine into a galaxy of medical “specialties” with its danger of depriving the physician of the coming decade of the helpful point of view which comes from a more comprehensive and synthetic treatment of the manifestations of disease, frankly admits that we cannot stem the tide of the prevailing tendency. One way of modifying it is to direct attention to some of the contributory influences. Among these the tremendous multiplication of published records, contributions and reviews in the field of medicine has made it necessary for the individual to confine his attention to special groups, if he would master even a modicum of what the printing presses turn out.