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May 23, 1931


JAMA. 1931;96(21):1797-1798. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720470051015

The story of medicine abounds in instances indicating interrelationship between some dramatic cure and coincident medical or surgical intervention. In many of these cases the unquestionable association of cause and effect is convincingly established. There are not a few instances, on the other hand, in which the logic of post hoc ergo propter hoc can be effectively assailed. Coincidence plays a part all too often overlooked or disregarded in practical therapy. These comments are a foreword to a consideration of the modern claims for tonsillectomy.

Intense interest in the function of the tonsils belongs to the present century. Hypertrophy of this lymphoid tissue gives rise to symptoms causing obstruction to breathing or swallowing. Infection of the tonsils has been considered a focus for numerous diseases in adjoining organs or for general systemic infections. Admittedly when hypertrophy of the adenoid and tonsillar tissue exists, causing obstructive symptoms, the surgical removal has