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March 1929


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Diseases of Children, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Children's Medical Division and Department of Pathology, Bellevue Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1929;37(3):461-472. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1929.01930030003001

Within the past sixty years marked progress has been made in the understanding of the environmental factors in the etiology of disease. But great though the advances have been, the fact that persons react differently to the same sort of trauma, bacterial, mechanical, chemical or psychologic, has kept alive the concept of constitution as a factor in the etiology and course of disease. Prior to 1870, though some progress had been made in the study of the individual, the term constitution had been widely used to designate factors, the exact nature of which was unknown, and it was only natural that, with the discovery of the facts of bacteriology and immunology, research should be directed toward these more promising fields and that the term constitution should become largely discredited. In America, where the traditional background is almost entirely lacking and where experimental medicine on a large scale is of comparatively

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