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January 6, 1984

Crohn's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics.

JAMA. 1984;251(1):80-81. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340250060025

Knowledge of the nature of disease, from earliest times, evolved from the careful observation of sickness among individuals. Sir Henry Cohen1 points out that concepts of illnesses as disease entities first became apparent during the ninth century AD. Increased understanding of human illness has paralleled new developments in science and in medicine2 and continues today as the observation and the evaluation of the patient's condition become more perceptive and more precise. These circumstances alone, however revealing, sui generis do not always create noteworthy progress. Advances also require men and women of inquiring, critical minds, motivated by Rudyard Kipling's "six honest serving men: who, what, why, how, when and where."

Burrill Crohn, Leon Ginzburg, and Gordon Oppenheimer3 probably were not the first to observe or describe Crohn's disease. Indeed, medical historians4 suggest that the initial description may date back to Morgagni (1682-1771), possibly to Carson's "The Iliac