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THE CAUSE OF DEATH

JAMA. 1954;154(2):147-148. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940360045015.
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The diseases that afflict mankind, their incidence, their causes, their response to treatment, and their eventual termination are not only of scientific interest but of personal interest to all human beings. In an exhaustive study, Bogen and his associates1 stress the inadequacies of current collections of data, pointing out that the relative frequency and seriousness of various diseases may only be surmised from fragmentary information presently available. For example, large populations have not been carefully observed from birth to death for the purpose of recording the incidence of all functional and organic disturbances or even those serious enough to cause persons to seek medical and hospital care. Questionnaire and interview surveys frequently suffer from the effects of ignorance, forgetfulness, and deliberate deception, while the records of physicians in general practice have rarely been compiled and reported. Sickness and absenteeism records are generally confined to restricted samples of a population

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