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Article
September 13, 1902

THEORY AND OBSERVATION IN MEDICINE.

JAMA. 1902;XXXIX(11):632-633. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480370040003
Abstract

The medical literature of this country, and for that matter of other countries also, consists of both the chaff and the wheat. Much of what is written is a mere repetition of previous work, much is pure speculation and the application of writers' theories and fads to medical subjects. A certain proportion only consists of original observations, arid it is from this that our modicum of progress every year in medicine comes. This state of affairs would be discouraging, only that it is not true in medicine alone. In every science there is the complaint of the amount of writing done for the little advance gained. In every field of thought supposedly brilliant theories usurp the place of patient investigation. Any number of mare's nests are found and exploited every year. Hence despite the acknowledged value of scientific investigation, the popularity of the expression used by Amiel in the Journal

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