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November 29, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(22):1702-1703. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610480052020

The estimation of the basal metabolism of man as an index to the existence of certain pathologic manifestations of the bodily functions is becoming quite common as a result of the improvement of respiration apparatus which enables suitable experimental observations to be made with relative ease by a trained clinician at the bedside. The history of medicine affords many other interesting illustrations of the readiness with which the physician appropriates, to diagnostic use, instruments of precision and methods of analysis that are practicable in form and execution. The clinical thermometer, the sphygmomanometer, the serologic tests for syphilis, the quantitative determination of gastric and duodenal secretory factors—these and numerous other illustrations of the prompt adaptability of the alert physician to the possibilities of better diagnosis testify to the tendency of exact science to replace empiric judgment whenever circumstances make it worth while.

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