It is about a hundred years since Graves' disease was recognized as a clinical entity, yet small progress has been made in ascertaining its exact cause. A discussion of etiology published1 in 1908 concluded with the comment that by "close clinical observation with accurate histologic examinations and with chemical and physiologic investigations such as are now being made, especially through the cooperation of surgeons who treat such cases, we may be sure that the answer will soon be given."
Almost two decades have passed since George Dock hopefully wrote that statement, but his expectations have failed of realization. The three factors to be considered briefly here are largely responsible for retarding progress along the path which will ultimately end in revelation of the etiology and pathogenesis of this disease. These factors are, first, the premature acceptance of theories and their accompanying terminologies which replace "Graves' disease" by other names
READ JM. GRAVES' DISEASE: PROBABLE REASONS FOR FAILURE TO DISCOVER ITS ETIOLOGY. JAMA. 1927;88(22):1697–1699. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680480007004
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