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August 13, 1955


JAMA. 1955;158(15):1335-1344. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960150005002

Among the great numbers of severely disabled persons in our society, the plight of the person with chronic rheumatoid arthritis has been like that of no other. Beset by a chronically progressive process, he has suffered pain and crippling from a disease that has not had the mercy to kill but only the virulence to disable and wreck the human body. Variously it has been estimated that 15 to 25% of all patients developing rheumatoid arthritis fall into this pattern of progressive disability and invalidism.

Statistics concerning the extent of rheumatic disease in the United States are at best inaccurate indexes. The survey reported by the United States Public Health Service1 in 1938 is probably the most familiar; at that time it was estimated that nearly 7 million persons in the United States were suffering from some type of rheumatic disease. More recently, in 1952, Woolsey2 of the

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