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July 5, 1952


Author Affiliations

450 E. 63rd St. New York 21

JAMA. 1952;149(10):962. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930270056018

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To the Editor:—  In Dr. Stewart Wolf's recent letter in The Journal on old terms and modern concepts in medicine (May 10, 1952, page 186) I liked one of his final statements: "Consistent progress in medicine today depends, as always, on changing methods and concepts, and clarity in thinking requires that worn out concepts be discarded together with the clichés that serve them." This is particularly true, I believe, in the teaching of clinical medicine, where the vigorous and picturesque language of last century still finds a large place in the professorial vocabulary. In a rapidly changing atomic era, the homespun qualities of an earlier Americana idiom may have lost much if not all of its original rich colloquial connotation; the medical student of today, bewildered and perhaps bemused, repeats in a parrot-like fashion a traditional phrase that has no counterpart or significance in his everyday experience.Over the years

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