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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 13, 2006


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(22):2745. doi:10.1001/jama.296.22.2745-b

A correspondent sends us a circular of a work sold by subscription to physicians, which, according to its opening sentences, enables the physician to “instantly determine the underlying factor in all diseases without asking a question.” Appended is a list of physicians who have bought the book and express the appreciation of its teachings. We presume that if it claimed the ability to diagnose a disease from a lock of hair sent by mail it could get an equal number of testimonials. At least one seems about as rational a possibility as the other. We do not object to physicians getting information from all sources, but one would think that sensible men would rather do it on the quiet from such a source and not send their names to be utilized by the advertiser. It would seem preferable to be considered what is called an “easy mark” by some exploiting individual (in fact, the average physician is inclined to think he is from the advertisements and prospectuses he receives) than to publish the fact over one's own signature in the exploiter's circulars. There is some excuse in biting at a tempting bait, but apparently there are some fishes that will bite a bare hook, However, if a man wishes to advertise himself as a physician who is rendered especially joyful by information how to diagnose all kinds of diseases at sight it should not seriously concern us. It is merely a matter of taste.