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September 29, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(13):977-978. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.25210130001001

Goethe once said that the most interesting book that could be written would be a treatise on human errors. In that book, large like a library, the history of quackery—well meant or deceitful—would fill a large place. The distrust of medicine and its powers is as old as the world, for not many ever knew or cared to appreciate what medical science or art is capable or not of accomplishing, or should be held responsible for. Besides, the more uncultured or uncontrolled the human intellect the greater is the predominance of mysticism. In Greece quackery was rife and Aristophanes made it the subject of ridicule. The elder Cato, who advised the use of cabbage against all sorts of disease and employed witchcraft and incantations for luxations, demanded the expulsion from Rome of the Greek physicians. The iatromechanics, who taught the direct interdependence of stars and man and prescribed pills compounded

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