The journal’s logo depicts the Rod of Asclepius crossed over a quill pen. The dates on the logo represent the founding of the components of the New England Journal of Medicine: 1812 for the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and Collateral Branches of Medical Science, 1823 for the Boston Medical Intelligencer, 1828 for the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and 1928 for the New England Journal of Medicine.
In September 1811, John Collins Warren, a Boston physician, along with James Jackson, submitted a formal prospectus to establish the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and Collateral Branches of Science as a medical and philosophical journal. Subsequently, the first issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and the Collateral Branches of Medical Science was published in January 1812. The journal was published quarterly.
A letter published in the NEJM in 1980 was later described by the journal as having been "heavily and uncritically cited" to claim that addiction due to use of opioids was rare, and its publication in such an authoritative journal was used by pharmaceutical companies to push widespread use of opioid drugs, leading to an addiction crisis in the U.S. and other countries.
Patients with interstitial lung disease associated with systemic sclerosis were treated with usual care plus placebo or nintedanib. The annual rate of change in forced vital capacity assessed over a 52-week period was −52.4 ml per year with nintedanib and −93.3 ml per year with placebo. There were no differences in other measures of systemic sclerosis.
In June 1948, Sidney Farber reported promising results in treatment of early childhood leukemia. Based on anecdotal evidence that children with acute leukemia worsened if they were given folic acid, he worked on blocking folic acid metabolism. His team gave 16 infants and children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a folic acid inhibitor, aminopterin—10 showed improvement by clinical and hematologic parameters after three months. In his article, Farber advised receiving the results cautiously: "It is again emphasized that these remissions are temporary in character and that the substance is toxic and may be productive of even greater disturbances than have been encountered so far in our studies," he wrote. "No evidence has been mentioned in this report that would justify the suggestion of the term 'cure' of acute leukemia in children."