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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 10, 2004


JAMA. 2004;291(10):1272. doi:10.1001/jama.291.10.1272-b

One of the results of the ceaseless investigation which characterizes the medical world of the present, is the retesting of many of the theories, which, on account of their age, or their apparent rationality, have almost assumed the finality of facts. Most of us can remember the time when the idea that appendicitis was generally caused by foreign bodies was current, an idea which still exists in the minds of most of the laity. And now comes an article by Prettin and Leibkind1 which shatters our current belief regarding the prevalence of emphysema in glass blowers. If ever a theory seemed rational and well grounded, that which regarded wind-instrument players and glass blowers as particularly prone to emphysema would seem to have been one. The examination of two hundred and eighteen glass blowers by the authors mentioned showed only five cases of emphysema, a result which is decidedly destructive to the current belief on this point. Fischer's article2 of two years ago showed almost identical results so far as wind-instrument players were concerned, as he found that in five hundred military musicians there was no case of emphysema, even in individuals over fifty. Thus another idol is shattered.