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June 1963

Platonic Concepts of Hepatology

Author Affiliations


Department of Clinical Medicine, Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(6):819-822. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620300139022

Present-day hepatologists have been known to regard mere gastroenterologists with slight disdain. The liver expert not only regards his domain as the epitome of complex physiology and histology, but firmly believes an insight to liver pathology equips the physician to elucidate a wide range of disease states throughout the body. This imperial attitude cannot be attributed to the upsurge in medical specialization during the past quarter century, nor can it be accounted for by the recent discovery of at least a few facts to bind the myriad of hepatic hypotheses. Its origins stretch far back into the early Greek world, and even the most haughty hepatologist today would not presume competence in several roles claimed for and by their Athenian predecessors twenty-five hundred years ago. Not only did the Greeks regard the spleen and intestines as inferior physical organs, but they assumed a moral superiority of the liver over the

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