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February 1974

Medical Writings of Moses Maimonides

Author Affiliations

Queens Hospital Center Jamaica, NY

Arch Intern Med. 1974;133(2):318-319. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320140156021

To the Editor.  —I wish to point out several inaccuracies in Dr. Altschule's book review of The Medical Aphorisms of Moses Maimonides (132:624, 1973). First, Maimonides lived in the 12th (not 13th) century (1135-1204). Second, Rabbi Baal Shem Tov was not a contemporary of Maimonides but lived several hundred years later. Third, it is not correct to state that what Maimonides "wrote about has long since disappeared from medicine or has been so modified as to be scarcely recognizable." For example, in his aphorisms, Maimonides speaks of cerebrovascular disease: "one can prognosticate regarding a stroke, called apoplexy. If the attack is severe, then he will certainly die, but if it is minor, then cure is possible, though difficult... the worst situation that can occur following a stroke is the complete irreversible suppression of respiration...."A very accurate description of obstructive emphysema is provided during a lengthy discussion of respiratory disease:

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