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March 10, 1951

Trophic Nerves: Their Role in Physiology and Pathology with Especial Reference to the Ætiology of Malignant, Neurological and Mental Disease and Inflammatory and Atrophic Changes

JAMA. 1951;145(10):770. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920280082033

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This weighty volume deals with the subject of an old controversy regarding the existence of nerve fibers that govern the nutrition and regulate the relative growth rates of different parts of the body. According to the preface, the existence of such fibers was accepted for a period of about 50 years but then the idea fell into disrepute. The preface promises to bring forward "a mass of evidence" to show that trophic nerves exist and advises that one read the book twice. It is possible that this process might indeed yield something, but the first reading fails to locate either a formal definition of the author's concept of a trophic nerve or a summary of his proof of the existence theorem. Neither is there an indication that practical consequences of any value follow from the author's work, for the case histories in the appendix suggest little in the way of

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