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August 4, 1956


Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.

Director, National Heart Institute, National Institutes of Health, U. S. Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

JAMA. 1956;161(14):1351-1352. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970140007002

• The progress of medicine is strikingly revealed when the present is compared with the past. The life expectancy of an infant at birth in the early days of the United States was actually less than the age at which the medical student of today completes his formal education; he can afford to prolong his schooling far beyond what would once have been considered reasonable because the duration of his expected productive period has been so greatly prolonged.

The importance of preventive medicine is appreciated only if one recalls the pestilences and similar calamities of the past. Further reduction of the mortality and morbidity from accidents is obviously possible. The prevention of such conditions as arteriosclerosis and hypertension will be more difficult.