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Medical Commentary on China

Douglas C. Heimburger, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(5):1093. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350170263049.
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To the Editor.  —The recent article by Dr Orient1 in the Archives on the unscientific nature of most Western medical commentaries on the People's Republic of China was most appropriate and timely. We seem to have adopted such an attitude of conciliation toward China that we have left our critical faculties behind when visiting, discussing, or writing about it. Our interpretation of Chinese medicine is often tacitly political rather than scientific. Many physicians are satisfied with second-hand information given by Chinese authorities rather than with direct observations and gathering data first hand.On a trip to China in December 1983, I participated in exchanges in four medical institutions with physicians and surgeons regarding clinical nutrition. At one of them I had a particular desire to gather data regarding the prevalence of hospital-associated malnutrition, which has been well documented in the United States.2 There are many reasons why the data


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