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December 18, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(25):2094-2095. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680250052019

Traditional methods of treatment should never be brushed aside lightly, even when they are based wholly on empiricism. It may be wise usually to heed the dictates of experience in fields wherein scientific procedure has not yet penetrated or its contributions are not clear cut. Crude empiricism, history indicates, has given us not a little of the medical art down to the past century; nor has it yet disappeared. But the mere fact that a therapeutic suggestion has found some vogue should not absolve it from rigorous examination that will test its rationality.

A justification of these comments may be found in a recent study of the reputed value of elementary phosphorus in rickets.2 Not long ago the phosphorus treatment attained recognition and even recommendation in this country.3 Half a century has elapsed since it was first brought to the attention of clinicians. The reports about its efficacy