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October 26, 1963

Medical Biology

JAMA. 1963;186(4):440. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710040166021

To the Editor:  —The recent article by Drs. Vallee and Wacker (JAMA184:485 [May 11] 1963) gives a brief historical discussion of some of the ideas which have evolved in the body of medical thought in its attempt to understand the function of living things. Within this context the article is interesting reading.The authors discussed the function of the cell and its parts and relate little or nothing to the function of the living organism. One is a little surprised to read toward the end of the paper, "These apprehensions reflect the yearning for a new unifying concept [italics are mine] to take the place of that which is made obsolete by the advances of our knowledge and understanding." The phrase "unifying concept" has a synoptic connotation which is at variance with the purely analytic material which the authors have discussed.Because a living organism is greater than