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September 22, 1962

The Nature of Essential Hypertension

JAMA. 1962;181(12):1095. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050380073023

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This small volume presents a lucid and orderly exposition of the author's view that blood pressure levels, as recorded clinically in the population at large, represent a continuum, there being no sharp "cut-off point" between "normal" and "high" blood pressure. Essential hypertension is regarded here as a quantitative rather than qualitative deviation from the norm, whether from a clinical, prognostic, or pathologic point of view. The author scolds statisticians for their wholesale disregard of the facts. There are few phenomena, he says "more astonishing than how many skilled biometricians have been induced to use a practice which, had it been general, would have quickly brought that science into disrepute." The author points out that there is a resemblance between the blood pressure of individuals and their relatives and that this resemblance is quantitative and graded over the whole range ordinarily considered to represent hypotension, normotension, and hypertension, and such as

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