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Physiology and Biochemistry in Modern Medicine

Nature volume 104, pages 389390 (18 December 1919) | Download Citation



TEACHERS engaged in giving instruction in physiology to students of medicine are well aware of the difficulty pointed out in the preface to the book before us. The student, mainly out of ignorance, is apt to regard the subject as of no importance in the practice of his profession, and to devote what attention he gives to it simply to what he believes will enable him to pass some particular examinational test. He rarely acquires real and useful knowledge of the fundamental processes at the basis of all the manifestations of vital phenomena, normal and pathological, a knowledge which he usually regards as purely “academic.,”He fails to realise how great an assistance in the comprehension of complex states he would obtain by the application of such general principles. It is to be feared that this attitude is too much encouraged by that of some clinicians. The student learns from his friends who have passed on to their hospital work what little value physiology possesses, as judged by the remarks made by his clinical teachers. There are signs, however, that a change is taking place. The work of physiologists in elucidating problems which arose during the late war, such as the action of poison gases, the regeneration of muscle and nerve, wound-shock, and so on, had the effect of demonstrating to many enlightened medical officers the necessity of physiological science.

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