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Article
May 3, 1958

CHANGING DIMENSIONS OF MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE: THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION, RESEARCH, AND PRACTICE

Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1958;167(1):40-47. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990180042010
Abstract

It is evident to everyone that dimensions of medical knowledge have changed. Wood gave the dimensions and described the changes at the 53rd Annual Congress.1 However, one thought from his talk must be repeated. The change in dimensions— the growth of knowledge—is in a phase of rapid geometric progression. Life would be so simple if fact A led to fact B, to fact C, to fact D, and so forth (fig. 1). As it is, fact A leads to new facts B1, B2, B3... Bn. Each new fact, in turn, leads to a similar expansion (fig. 2). So, medical knowledge has grown enormously in recent years, and there have been exciting and sometimes frightening effects upon medical education, research, and medical practice. Those three items will be considered somewhat separately (fig. 3, top), but you must remember that they are all part of a larger

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