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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 11, 3rd Quarter 1996


The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine

A Hoffer, MD, PhD

Changing Paradigms in the Practice of Medicine in Canada

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Professor Thomas Kuhn died recently. In his influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he described the history of the evolution of science as a series of major steps, from one position to another, somewhat like the quantum jumps of electrons from one orbit to another. Medicine does not evolve smoothly with the accrual of bits of information, but rather evolves through a series of major convulsions or spasms, shifting from one set of beliefs, to another.

Unfortunately, the history of medicine is rarely taught in medical school, so physicians are not aware that what they are practising today, which seems so well thought out and necessary, was once considered anathema to a previous group of physicians. If history was taught as it should be, physicians would know that progress can come only when new ideas are allowed into the theories and practices of medicine, and that it takes from 40 to 50 years before new ideas are accepted.

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