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March 5, 1887


JAMA. 1887;VIII(10):270. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02391350018006

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In the Philadelphia Medical Times, of January 22, 1887, is a leading article in which it is said that the term "neurasthenia" was coined by Dr. Geo. M. Beard, from a term "nervous asthenia" used by Dr. Fordyce Barker, and that Dr. Beard wrote the first accurate description of the condition. Other writers have made the same or a similar error. Dr. Beard did not invent the term, nor was he the first American writer on the subject. His first contribution appeared in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, on April 29, 1869. Dr. E. H. Van Deusen, of Kalamazoo, Mich., wrote the first systematic paper on the subject in 1867, and was the first to call attention to the theory of its being associated with an underlying neuropathic diathesis (Michigan Asylum Reports, 1867); a theory which the Medical Times credits to Arndt (Die Neurasthenie; Wien: 1886), but which has

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