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James V. Neel, M.D., Ph.D.
JAMA. 1958;166(8):908-916. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.62990080007011.
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The history of our profession is a record of the constant revision, reevaluation, and even—sometimes—the complete abandonment of measures at one time firmly entrenched in the medical armamentarium. It is really not so long ago that venesection and drastic purgation were the stock in trade of the conscientious physician confronted with a wide variety of human ills. Our knowledge has advanced greatly since those days, and yet, even in this era of "scientific medicine," it behooves us, looking back over the pages of medical history, to maintain a sense of humility concerning the state of our present knowledge of human biology and to recognize that periodically we may be called upon for a reappraisal of some facet of our practices.

Just such a reappraisal is in progress with respect to the effects of relatively low doses of ionizing radiation, not only as received in today's medicine but also as delivered


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