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December 16, 1893


JAMA. 1893;XXI(25):935-936. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420770025002a

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"A peculiarity of constitution in which one person is affected by an agent, which in numerous others would produce no effect."

It is not an uncommon occurrence in the practice of a physician to meet with a case wherein the judicious administration of a known harmless drug has produced alarming symptoms, and occasionally a case is seen in which unusual and unexpected effects are produced by different foods or even odors. This condition is known as "idiosyncrasy," and it is, at present, beyond the power of the physician to point out definitely a pathologic condition that may be considered a true etiologic factor. The best hypothesis yet offered is, that it is an exalted reflex act. I was told by Professor Walter S. Haines, of a clergyman in an eastern city, who, being the unhappy possessor of this peculiarity, was forced to request friends with whom he would dine, to

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