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December 1987

Back to the Future

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine The Allentown Affiliated Hospitals 17th and Chew streets Allentown, PA 19102

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(12):2089-2090. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370120025006

Probably more than any other era, the late 20th century has been a period of unparalleled scientific advances, medical breakthroughs, and abstract thinking. It has been an exciting time during which man's mind and technology are probing deeply into the genetic and molecular basis of health and disease. The limits of such thinking and investigation seem without bounds and most likely will continue to expand in a nearly geometric fashion. And yet, in many ways, plus ça change, plus ça reste le meme (the more it changes, the more it stays the same). It seems to me that, in several instances, some of our most current theories and therapies have come full circle from similar or even identical theories and therapies of yesteryear, or even the distant past. When one thinks back at what had been accepted standards of diagnosis, therapy, and care a mere few decades ago, one is