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July 19, 1924


JAMA. 1924;83(3):198. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02660030036014

In his opening address as president of the international physiologic congress in Paris, in the summer of 1920, Charles Richet said: "Seek to understand things; their utility will appear later. First of all, it is knowledge that matters." This spirit in the search for truth seems to have animated the students of metabolism since the days when Lavoisier, more than a century ago, first recognized that animal heat is derived from the oxidation of the body's substance, and laid the foundations of calorimetry applied to living organisms. Gradually, in the intervening years, the superstructure of our present knowledge of the energy transformations of the body has been raised. It was, of course, futile to attempt to utilize the measurement of energy exchange and heat output in cases of disease so long as the fundamental features of metabolism in the healthy remained to be determined. Within recent years, however, these have