Sepsis and Scientific Revolutions

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Hypothesis:The therapeutic approach to sepsis is following an evolutionary process of scientific discovery as articulated in the landmark work by Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, first published 50 years ago.Background:Incremental advances, beginning with the introduction of antimicrobials and most recently highlighted by revised, evidence-based guidelines for the management of sepsis, have been accompanied by episodic paradigm shifts. Although some of these have shown success, there are numerous, noteworthy failures, largely involving immune- and coagulation-based therapeutic strategies.Conclusion:A sustained paradigm shift in the approach to treating sepsis has yet to emerge, but recent data suggest that an open-minded posture informed by novel pathobiologic findings may eventually bear fruit.

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