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September 8, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(10):626-627. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460360032002

Virchow's recent advice to writers for medical periodicals, upon which we have already commented,1 is attracting considerable attention in American and English journals. The points he makes in favor of brevity in non-essentials; in favor of comprehensive summaries of the previous literature bearing on the subject discussed; and in favor of a judicious limitation of the number of illustrations are all well taken. They have been urged before on various occasions, both by Virchow himself and others.

There are certain general rules for good medical writing that can not be urged too often. There is the title of the article, to begin with the beginning. The indefinite, meaningless title is still entirely too frequent, especially in American medical journals. Many a valuable observation, conscientiously recorded, is buried forever because the title does not clearly and explicitly indicate the scope of the article. What a bugbear to the index makers