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April 27, 1984

Say 'Ah!'

JAMA. 1984;251(16):2086. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340400022016

To the Editor.—  In the Oct 14, 1983, issue of The Journal, Lola Armstrong1 asked how long it has been since a doctor asked anyone to "stick out your tongue and say 'ah!' " I was surprised to realize that she thought doctors no longer did this, and a group of internists and family practitioners attending a weekly breakfast meeting all agreed that this was probably requested of one third of the patients we see in the course of each day. The problem may be one of semantics; she was likely referring to examination of the tongue in some detail, which was thought in her early years to provide excellent clues as to diagnosis. While most of us examine the tongue to some degree in the course of a mouth examination, we are probably more concerned with the pharynx and tonsils. It is of interest that a better examination often can