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When I edited Thorax in the early 1970s, it was the official publication of the old Thoracic Society whose membership included surgeons. There was therefore a surgical as well as a medical editor. This was the dawning era of open heart surgery, so many of the surgical papers dealt with this topic but also (since Thorax was an anatomical concept) with oesophageal disorders.
A change in the growing points of respiratory medicine is revealed by a comparison of papers published in the June 2006 issue of Thorax with those published when I was editor. About one third of all medical papers appearing in 1973 dealt with advances in lung physiology compared with only one of 21 articles in the June issue. Conversely, some current topics were scarcely heard of in the early 1970s: sleep apnoea, CT scans, and many advances in the genetics and biochemistry of the lung.
Thorax now reflects the highest standards of current respiratory research. The editorial team should be proud to attract such distinguished contributions.
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