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June 3, 1974

The Striated Muscle

Author Affiliations

Greater Baltimore Medical Center Baltimore

JAMA. 1974;228(10):1302-1303. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230350072047

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Any clinical or laboratory tests that are performed infrequently usually are performed improperly, and among such tests the muscle biopsy undeservedly belongs. There must be few general pathologists who have not been confounded by the skeletal muscle biopsy delivered to the laboratory shriveled in fixative, twisted like tarred hemp, and looking not unlike the Gordian Knot might have appeared after Alexander had rudely untied it with his sword. So too, the diagnostic value of the muscle can be similarly reduced by the surgeon's scalpel unless the physician, surgeon, and the pathologist all consult and collaborate before beginning such an examination. Such admonitions should be unnecessary for such an old procedure, for it was through the study of skeletal muscle almost a century ago that Virchow first defined the epidemiology of trichinosis in man, and Duchenne first was able to recognize the histomorphologic changes of the muscular dystrophies.

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