Very often scientific publications begin with the pompous words: A new technique for., or An innovative method for.. But are these procedures really new? The French physician and philosopher Émile Littré (1801-1881) wrote the following in the foreword of his Oeuvres complètes d'Hippocrate (Complete Works of Hippocrates): There is no development, even the most advanced of contemporary medicine, which is not found in embryo in the medicine of the past . This opinion is easy to demonstrate by doing some research in a historical library. One will discover that old books not only provide palpable contact with the medical past, but also serve to establish the precedence of an idea, a theory or a technique. Regrettably, we often realise that most of the so-called new techniques derive from ideas which were already published but then forgotten. Numerous examples exist, but we restrict our list to just a few for obvious reasons.
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