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April 7, 1923


JAMA. 1923;80(14):1004-1005. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640410034016

The study of some of the chapters of medical history are singularly illuminating, in that they show a steady progress, from time to time, in the direction of more adequate and dependable knowledge. This is true, for example, of the story of our information regarding the cause and treatment of some of the infectious diseases. The successive pages have usually disclosed additions to the sum of what was known before; but there are other fields of medical interest in which the years have not brought a gradual increment of understanding in the same way. In some of these, one will find that history presents a succession of dogmatic views, each replaced in turn by some other conception, supported more strongly by the confidence of its advocates than by the validity of objective evidence. Perhaps there is no serious injustice in saying that these comments apply in considerable measure to the