Monday, February 25, 2008

Sometimes medical progress is exceedingly slow

Much is made of the great speed of medical progress, of impossibility or keeping up, etc, etc.

Sometimes yes, that is true -- though much that is "new" does not last. Often though, progress is glacial.

One of my medical hobbies is using a Pubmed feed to track articles written about aphthous stomatitis (aka canker sores). This is a generally benign (albeit painful) condition that remains almost as mysterious today as it was when I entered McGill in 1982.

For example, today's feed tossed up an article that could have been written thirty years ago: Topical minocycline for managing symptoms of recur...[Spec Care Dentist. 2008 Jan-Feb].


In 1982 we were pretty sure canker sores would not be a great mystery in 2008. Of course in 1995 we were certain everyone would have fiber to the desktop by 2001 ...

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