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February 26, 1916


Author Affiliations

Professor of Physiology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons NEW YORK

JAMA. 1916;LXVI(9):635-639. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580350023008

James Russell Wallace once said in substance that the twentieth century added to human knowledge more than all its predecessors, but had done less than any other to make its knowledge available for human needs.

As the mother of the sciences and the chief instrument for the subordination of physical evil, this charge was laid chiefly at the door of medicine. It cannot be doubted that the charge was valid when Wallace made it, and probably today it remains virtually unanswered. There is, however, an obvious reason for this situation. The nineteenth century witnessed the gathering of practically all of the intimate and effective knowledge of physics and biology. During the period of the accumulation of this vast knowledge, it could hardly be expected that its practical application could keep pace with the rapid growth in so many directions. The great dilemma in medical activities today is the difficulty of

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