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June 10, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(23):1843-1847. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500500023001f

Dyspepsia is difficult digestion and may include all forms of disturbances associated with the digestive process. Normally we are not aware that digestion is going on. When sensations are experienced we have dyspepsia.

The ancients sought knowledge through the avenues of philosophic reasoning—the dream of ideas—but in modern methods we gain knowledge by experience of phenomena. What is dyspepsia? We all know, at least empirically, what it is. We were early taught by childish experience with unripe fruit. It has been facetiously stated that the apple which Eve gave to Adam was green, and that it caused indigestion. If we would gain a scientific knowledge of dyspepsia we must study the process of normal conditions and trace the pathologic changes that occur.

From time immemorial dyspepsia has been a national as well as an individual problem. Nations do not begin to decline until they have reached the stage of luxury;