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April 5, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(14):878-879. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480140024006

The long existence of a common belief is by no means infallible evidence of its correctness. It is proverbial that superstition dies hard, and the judicial attitude is far from universal. The scientific physician, however, must ever view his facts dispassionately and base an unprejudiced opinion upon the fullest measure of knowledge at his command. Alcohol has so long been employed both as a beverage and as a therapeutic agent that its usefulness has come to be taken for granted and the statement as to its efficacy seems to have been handed down from generation to generation without serious question. There has, however, now accumulated a sufficient mass of evidence of reliable character to permit of intelligent discussion of the entire subject. Directly contradictory opinions are held by different authorities as to the value of alcohol as a stimulant to the circulatory, the nervous and the digestive system, as a