The lessons of history, if thoughtfully perused, may cast some illumination on the pathways of the future. The development of a body of knowledge and of clinical and experimental techniques to the point of constituting a new scientific discipline and an independent medical specialty requires myriads of observations, experiments, and studies. These constitute a tribute to the ingenuity, insight, perseverance, and dedication of a host of clinicians and investigators of past generations and of the current scientific scene.
Allergy, like most medical specialties, was presaged by scattered and unorganized clinical observations over centuries. Unlike the other specialties, however, it is the first to be distinguished by attention to a modality of disease causation—the phenomenon of hypersensitivity—rather than by delineation in terms of an organ system, age group, or therapeutic approach.
The gradual conceptualization of the possibility that hypersensitiveness to otherwise innocuous substances may produce disease in predisposed individuals required a
Gottlieb PM. Broadening Horizons of Allergy. JAMA. 1965;194(8):890–892. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090210054014
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