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April 23, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(17):1078-1079. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92490620020001h

Every obscure subject in medical literature should be reviewed from time to time on principles broader and more general than can usually be employed in text-books or special articles; and particularly when such obscurity is caused by a want of precision of language, by errors in the use of terms—faulty or loose terminology—and, what is more serious, by a failure to distinguish between two objects, which, though alike, are chemically and physiologically speaking, separate agencies.

For instance, a frequent and widespread source of error—and consequently of danger—arises from a confusion in the nomenclature. That is to say, potassic chlorate has been confounded, both in medical writings and in prescriptions, with potassic chlorid (KCL). Secondly, by a false analogy, the chlorate has been thought to have properties and effects identical with the chlorid, and not to be any stronger. For the belief that potassic chlorate and potassic chlorid are interchangeable, or

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