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October 31, 1953


JAMA. 1953;153(9):795-799. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940260019007

We know a great deal more about tuberculosis today than we knew 20 years ago, and we shall know still more tomorrow. Even as we discard older authorities, however, it behooves us to acknowledge our debt to them. As has been said, "We see farther in our time only because we stand upon the backs of giants."

Nevertheless, the great studies of yesterday will be superseded, are being superseded, even as they are being used. They will continue to fade gradually from footnotes and from bibliographies as newer, more accurate knowledge comes into its own, and finally they will be of merely "historical interest," which is a polite way of saying that they will have become obsolete. This is of course right and necessary. To say that few studies of 50 years ago are of any real scientific interest today is merely to say that medicine has made progress. And

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