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April 27, 1984

Say 'Ah!'

Author Affiliations

East Meadow, NY

JAMA. 1984;251(16):2086. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340400022017

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To the Editor.—  I have been asking patients to stick out their tongues and say "ah!" for some 30 years. I still regard it as a diagnostic procedure of some worth. I have found that there are a considerable number of patients who gag when the tongue blade is pressed on their tongues. I have found that if the "ah!" is said in a high-pitched tone, a falsetto voice, the patient is unable to gag while essentially singing this note. It may seem like a small point; however, I have found that it has enabled me to visualize the throat on many occasions where previously the patient was unable to permit this examination.