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July 27, 1929


JAMA. 1929;93(4):284-285. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02710040036014

Arthritis and the so-called rheumatic disturbances have a known medical history dating back to the stone age. Their etiology nevertheless is still being vigorously debated. Speaking of chronic infectious arthritis—arthritis deformans—Cecil1 has remarked that perhaps no disease in the whole realm of internal medicine has been more prolific of hypotheses and theories. It has long been recognized that there were many predisposing factors, such as fatigue, cold and exposure, which played an important part in the actual onset of symptoms; but the exciting cause or agent has eluded the most persistent investigators. This prelude may justify reference to recent investigations and forewarn innumerable critics who lie in wait ready to argue away the newest theory.

Today it is no longer satisfying to refer to heredity or to some unfavorable feature in the physical environment of man as a completely adequate explanation of the genesis of arthritis. Without denying the