Topics in the News
Allergy Relief: The Antihistamines
Sneezing, sniffling, weeping, itching, gasping. In 1946 an estimated 10-15 percent of the population, some 13-20 million, suffered a vast gallery of allergic symptoms. In the Minnesota winters a strapping young man bundled himself so thoroughly against his allergy to the cold that his wife had to lead him down the street. Even the exposure of the skin around his eyes to the cold swelled him up as though he had been stung by dozens of wasps. Some sufferers dreaded spring, with its tree-pollen-induced sneezing and itchy eyes, while others dreaded the ragweed season in late summer. Allergies were a source of misery to millions.
Until the discovery of a new treatment, allergy sufferers had to avoid cats, eggs, feathers, pollen—whatever caused their reaction—or take frequent desensitizing injections. More convenient relief came in 1946 with the discovery of something new—histamine—the chemical catalyst in the allergic reaction. Although histamine was known for many years, its normal place in the body's complex chemistry was still not well understood until the 1940s.
In the allergic individual, histamine becomes an irritant itself. It creates leaks in the capillaries, causing fluid to escape into the tissues, producing congestion, runny...
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Benefits from the Atomic Bomb.
An elderly man crushes his leg in an accident. A severe infection forces a decision to amputate. But where should the surgeon cut? Above the knee or below the knee? If the man's knee joint can be saved, he will learn to walk again more easily. To make the correct decision, the surgeon must know how far up the patient's leg his blood circulation is impaired. A nurse injects a solution of radioactive salt into his arm. A Geiger counter near the patient's injured kneecap registers the information. The radioactive salt, now part of his blood, is carried by his veins from his arm into his knee joint. The circulation up to that point still functions. His knee can be saved. The same Manhattan Project that developed atomic weapons to destroy human life also developed by-products in the form of radioisotopes, such as those referred to in the example above, to use in saving lives. After the end of World War II these isotopes—by-products of atomic energy—were put to work in hospitals and laboratories to treat diseases and study the human body.
Tracers for the Study of Diseases.
These radioactive materials were used as tracers to search for the cause of a disease, map blood circulation, or research the basic nature of bodily processes in disease and health. A scientist could chemically compound the radioactive...
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The Center for Disease Control
Epidemics and the War Effort.
Every fall, as Americans begin sneezing and coughing by the thousands, U.S. public-health officials brace themselves for one of nature's most dependable epidemics—influenza. In the 1940s there were other epidemics to fear—polio, malaria, typhus, dengue, and yellow fever, to name a few. Epidemics are caused by highly contagious and rapidly spreading diseases. Many disease carriers were found throughout the country when military personnel and former prisoners of war returned during the war, bringing with them typhus and malaria. These diseases threatened citizens living near military establishments and people working in essential war industries. The federal government felt it had to act.
The Office of Malaria Control in War Areas.
An emergency World War II organization called the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (MCWA) reduced the danger of malaria transmission in the country. Teams of specially trained and equipped specialists worked efficiently on the problem under the new organization. Atlanta, Georgia, a central point of endemic malaria, became its home base. MCWA was originally set up to solve the problem of malaria alone. In 1943 it expanded its focus to attack dengue in Hawaii and yellow fever in the southeastern United States. The availability of the new insecticide DDT revolutionized its...
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DDT—Before Silent Spring
An Extraordinary Insecticide.
In early June 1944 war-time censorship was lifted from one of the great scientific discoveries of World War II. "DDT will be to preventive medicine what Lister's discovery of antiseptics was to surgery," said Lt. Col. A. L. Ahnfeldt of the U.S. surgeon general's office. DDT stopped a typhus epidemic in Naples and promised to wipe out mosquitos and malaria; to eradicate the household fly, cockroach, and bedbug; and to control some of the most damaging insects that prey on the world's crops.
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was first synthesized in 1874 from chlorine, alcohol, and sulfuric acid. Its insecticidal powers were discovered in the middle 1930s. It remained active for weeks or even months, and it eliminated the need for repeated respraying. In 1944 the use of DDT as a delousing agent was publicly known for several months, when the army and the manufacturers of the insecticide joined in announcing some of its other amazing properties:
- Sprayed on a wall, it killed any fly that touched the wall, for as long as three months.
- A bed sprayed with DDT remained deadly to bedbugs for three hundred days.
- Clothing dusted with it was safe from typhus-bearing lice for a month, even after eight launderings.
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Discrimination in Medical Colleges
"Leo," a bright and personable young man, dreamed of becoming a physician. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in New York City, he took a premed course at Ohio University. He had an excellent scholastic record and a distinguished athletic history when he filed his first application for admission to medical school. With his record he had no doubts about being accepted. But his application was turned down. After receiving rejections from eighty-seven other schools, he took an M.A. at Yale with top honors. One of his professors made a personal effort to enroll him in a medical school, but without success. Leo was excluded because he was Jewish.
Medical schools in the 1940s were badly overcrowded, and prejudice and discrimination against certain groups were both subtle and overt factors in admission decisions. For every vacant place in the freshman class, seven or eight individuals applied. Medical officials estimated that 35-50 percent of the applicants were Jewish. Only one out of every thirteen Jewish applicants got in. From 1925 to 1945, before Nazi racism shamed many Americans into reconsidering their own anti-Semitic behavior and attitudes, the number of Jewish students in medical schools was reduced by roughly 50 percent. The situation for African Americans was even worse. Of the...
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A Treatment for Mental Illness.
In the 1940s there were few treatments available for mental illnesses. One regimen, called shock therapy, involved the use of drugs or electricity to treat severe mental disorders by inducing coma or convulsions. Early shock treatments used such chemicals as insulin, camphor, or metrazol. Injections of increasing levels of insulin deoxygenated the blood and induced a deep coma. Metrazol was used to produce convulsions. The therapeutic benefit of the drug shock therapies seemed to be greatest with schizophrenics. In 1938 Ugo Cerletti of Italy first developed an electricshock therapy technique. It proved to be less dangerous, more controlled, and less expensive than the drug treatments. It rapidly became the primary medical treatment for the mentally ill, since there was little else available. At a meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine in February 1944, physicians concluded that the benefits of electroconvulsive therapy far outweighed the dangers involved. Physicians considered electric-shock therapy especially beneficial in cases of severe depression or "melancholia," as an alternative to months or years in a mental hospital. In these cases treatments were used about three times a week for two to eight weeks or more. In cases of extreme psychosis psychiatrists gave as many as three treatments a day over a period of several weeks.
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Harry S Truman and the AMA
National Health Insurance and the AMA.
In the 1940s, if an American president wanted to stir up a hornet's nest with the American Medical Association (AMA), all he had to do was propose some form of national health insurance. National health insurance already existed in many European nations, including Germany, which had established the first national system of compulsory sickness insurance in 1883. The first attempts to secure some form of national health insurance for the United States began in 1915 with an early proposal from the American Association for Labor Legislation to give medical coverage to workers and their dependents. Since reformers saw health insurance as a way to subordinate medical practice to public health and to change the method of payment from fee-for-service to salary or capitation (a single fee for each patient during each year), tensions arose when physicians saw this potential attack on their income and autonomy. After the 1938 elections President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a national health-care program to Congress, but the bill was not passed. Toward the end of his life he indicated he would press for health insurance once the war was over. In 1944 he asked Congress to agree to an "economic bill of rights," including a right to adequate medical care. Three months after the end of the war his successor, Harry S Truman, called upon Congress to pass a national...
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Hospitals and the Hill-Burton Act
The Hospital Shortage.
In the early 1940s, if you needed to go to the hospital, you might have had to travel quite a distance to find one. During the Great Depression of the 1930s little building of new hospitals occurred, and many of the existing hospitals deteriorated. More than one thousand counties in the nation had no hospital facilities of any type. During the war emergency, communities crowded with workers in the munitions and other wartime plants encouraged the building of many small hospitals, often of flimsy construction. After the war the hospital industry was desperate for aid. Its needs had been deferred for a decade and a half of depression and war. Conservatives in Congress were finally induced to build new hospitals as an alternative to national health insurance.
The Hill-Burton Act.
Two hospital-construction programs were adopted immediately after the war, one to expand the Veterans Administration hospitals for the millions of returning veterans who would need medical attention, the other to aid the nation's community hospitals. In 1942 the Commission on Hospital Care was formed by joint action of the American Hospital Association and the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1946 Congress enacted the Hospital Survey and Construction Act (the Hill-Burton Act, named after its Senate sponsors, Lister Hill and Harold H. Burton),...
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It's Patriotic to Stay Healthy!
Patriotism and Public Health.
During World War II most Americans felt patriotism demanded eating less meat and sugar, driving fewer miles, conserving tin cans, and generally doing without normal consumer items. While few thought of patriotism in terms of keeping their families healthy, the government gave it considerable thought. With ten thousand physicians already in uniform and sixteen thousand more needed by the army before December 1942, government and health officials felt civilians would have to "curtail their aches and pains for the duration." To this end, federal programs for better nutrition and physical fitness were developed and publicized for schools, colleges, industry, and the home. Their purpose was to develop a strong, vigorous, and healthy population with courage enough to endure a long war.
How to Be Healthy.
Public-health authorities told Americans they had many ways to promote their health and prevent disease. Eating a well-balanced diet could prevent deficiency diseases such as pellagra, scurvy, and rickets. Inoculations protected against many diseases. Improved sanitation of water, milk, and food supplies and isolation and quarantine of infected persons as well as disinfection could check communicable diseases. Good health habits and proper diet were weapons against many disorders such as dental cavities,...
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Medicine and World War II
A Medical Success.
For medical science World War II was a spur to startling advances. Newly discovered antibiotics such as penicillin and other drugs were rapidly made available by government sponsorship for research, manufacture, and distribution. The war demonstrated the effectiveness of preventive psychiatry. Men who were kept near the front lines and treated could often return to active duty. New techniques for treating and storing blood plasma resulted in the saving of lives. Many of these discoveries were later adapted for peacetime usage.
Medical education in the United States accelerated during the war years. The training of wartime doctors consisted of three intense years of twelve months each instead of the usual four years of nine months each. U.S. medical schools geared up to produce physicians needed for the war effort more quickly, but this system was not adopted by any other of the countries at war. Some medical professionals feared the potential of a calamitous impact from this new system of training. A. N. Richards, the chairman of the Committee on Medical Research of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, claimed at least 30 percent of the physicians under forty-five years of age were men whose training resulted in superficial learning, poor discipline, and "a minimum of that contemplation...
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Polio Epidemics and Public Health.
In the 1940s poliomyelitis (also known as infantile paralysis or polio) epidemics continued to be a scourge. Young children were the most susceptible to this virus-borne disease. Parents were terrified when their youngsters complained of headaches, sore throats, and fever, fearing these symptoms foretold the onset of the dreaded disease. Most instances of contact with the viruses resulted in only mild symptoms and complete recovery in one to three days. But if polio invaded the nervous system, about 25 percent of the patients suffered mild disabilities, and another 25 percent sustained severe permanent disability, such as
In addition to being the most susceptible, children were also the most effective spreaders of this highly communicable disease. Summer epidemics caused the closing of swimming pools and playgrounds and the virtual...
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Psychiatry after World War II
Psychiatry and the War.
Psychiatry came to the attention of the government and the public during World War II, when more than a million men were rejected from military service because of mental or neurological disorders. Of those inducted into the army and later given medical discharges, 40 percent were dismissed for psychiatric reasons. During the war 850,000 soldiers were hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. Many conscientious objectors were assigned to serve in mental hospitals during the war years and brought back with them tales of neglect, overcrowding, and brutal treatment in the public mental hospitals. Psychiatrists and others blamed these problems on a great, unmet need for psychiatric services.
Image Pop-UpDr. Walter Freeman performs a lobotomy on a patient.
The Scandal of Neglect.
At the end of the war the scandal of public mental hospitals became the subject of Mary Jane Ward's best-selling novel in 1946, The Snake Pit. In another widely read book, The Shame of the States (1948), the historian and journalist Albert Deutsch compared scenes in American mental hospitals to the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. Deutsch and...
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A New Operation on the Brain.
In 1941 the word psychosurgery was not yet in the dictionary. Nevertheless, that year some two hundred Americans had their worries, persecution complexes, suicidal tendencies, obsessions, indecisiveness, or nervous tensions literally cut out of their brains. Many of these patients, surgeons claimed, were transformed into "useful members of society." Psychosurgery severed the connections between the prefrontal lobes and the thalamus in the brain and seemed a viable solution for those desperate cases unsuccessfully treated by drugs, shock therapy, or psychoanalysis. Physicians thought psychosurgery, also popularly known as lobotomy, gave intractable patients a chance of "being restored to the world with a more flexible personality" rather than living out a life of mental insanity.
Cutting Out Cares.
The psychosurgical technique was first developed in 1935 by a Portuguese surgeon, Egas Moniz. For his surgery Moniz developed an instrument similar to an apple corer. When psychosurgery entered the United States in 1936, American physicians Walter Freeman and James W. Watts of George Washington University replaced his tool with a long needle with a hollow shaft to probe the brain. Instead of boring through the top of the skull, they bored through the temples. The patient, given only a local anesthetic, was...
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In 1940, 46 percent of Americans polled listed syphilis as their number one public-health
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The Wonder Drugs: "Magic Bullets" Against Disease
Serendipity and Science.
New medical drugs are discovered in a variety of ways. Many of the most useful drugs are found by serendipity—fortunate and unexpected discovery by accident. Scientists testing sulfonamide drugs, for example, discovered that these compounds are useful as diuretics. Other drugs take years of painstaking research. This was the case with some antibiotics, such as streptomycin. Long years of experimentation and extensive clinical trials usually precede the widespread introduction of a new drug. The medical demands of World War II accelerated the development of drugs in the 1940s.
The Sulfa Drugs.
The major killers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were infectious diseases. The groundwork to eradicate the killer diseases began in the laboratories of the dye industry rather than in medical labs. The first real breakthrough came in 1932, when scientists discovered that the red azo dye, Prontosil, protected experimental mice against streptococcal infections. German physicist and chemist Gerhard Domagk won a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1939 for this discovery, but the Nazis forced him to decline the award. The modern era of antibacterial chemotherapy truly began in 1936, when workers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris discovered sulfanilamide, the active component of the dye. Many derivatives of...
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Blalock, Dr. Alfred 1899-1964
CODEVELOPER OF THE OPERATION THAT SAVED BLUE BABIES
A Pioneering Operation.
On 9 November 1944 Johns Hopkins surgeon Alfred Blalock carefully made a long incision and exposed a child's beating heart. Then, for three hours, he performed an operation no one had ever done before. The baby was slightly more than a year old but only weighed ten pounds and was not expected to live. Blalock believed that he and Dr. Helen Taussig had discovered how to increase blood flow to the lungs in "blue babies" suffering from anoxemia, or an inadequate oxygen supply. With the baby's heart exposed, Blalock could select a mediumsized artery, clamp it, cut it through, and tie off the useless upper end. He stitched the lower end into a hole he had made in the side of the pulmonary artery, thus bypassing the pulmonary artery's narrow entrance. All the time the operation was going on, one of the baby's lungs was collapsed. When he removed the clamps to let the blood flow, it flowed around and down into the pulmonary artery and to the lungs. The baby began to breathe more freely.
A blue baby is an infant with...
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Drew, Dr. Charles R. 1904-1950
BLOOD RESEARCHER WHOSE WORK SAVED LIVES
IN WORLD WAR II
The story of the career of the African American surgeon Charles R. Drew illustrates the tragic loss of human potential in a society afflicted with racism. While his pioneering work in blood research was responsible for saving countless lives during World War II, he was unheralded in his day and died unnoticed.
A Medical Pioneer.
Charles Drew was born 3 June 1904 in his grandmother's house in Washington, D.C. His father was a carpet layer, the only African American in the Carpet and Tile Layers Union. His mother, a graduate of Howard University's Miner Normal School in Washington, was a homemaker. His parents encouraged their five children to aim high and to take their studies seriously. Drew grew up in a comfortable home filled with books and classical music in the ethnically mixed neighborhood known as Foggy Bottom. After his graduation from Amherst College in 1926,...
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Kenny, Sister Elizabeth 1886-1952
ANEW TREATMENT FOR POLIO VICTIMS
"Use Your Best Observation and Judgment."
For most of this century standard treatment for polio included immobilizing the limbs of paralyzed victims in a variety of braces, casts, and forms for months. Physicians believed this prevented strong, normal muscles from pulling weak muscles out of position. An Australian bush nurse named Elizabeth Kenny rejected this standard approach and ultimately reformed therapeutic treatments of paralytic poliomyelitis. In 1910 Sister Kenny (Australian chief nurses are commissioned as "sister") first confronted a small epidemic of infantile paralysis in the Australian bush country. "Use your best observation and judgment," said the nearest physician, forty miles away. Knowing nothing about the disease and thrown on her own resources, Sister Kenny decided to treat polio's symptomatic muscle spasms. She used hot water, massage, and exercise, and her patients seemed to respond to the treatment. Claiming to have brought polio victims "back to normalcy," Sister Kenny was both encouraged by some doctors to keep it up and rebuked by other physicians as a quack.
A Message of Hope.
Elizabeth Kenny hoped to revolutionize the treatment of poliomyelitis in its early stages. Doctors believed the affected muscles were limp and needed to be supported. Sister Kenny...
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Lasker, Mrs. Albert D. 1900-1994
THE "NOBLE CONSPIRACY" AND THE PRIVATE
LOBBY FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
Public Investment in Medical Science.
Between 1900 and 1940 major sources of financing for medical research were nongovernmental, with private foundations and universities the principal sponsors and hosts of basic research. Before World War II most American scientists opposed large-scale federal financing or coordination of research. The war changed such attitudes by increasing government sponsorship of medicine and making research a priority. Following the war the emergence of a private, lay lobby for medical research greatly expanded government support. Henceforth the U.S. government and its tax dollars would become an important part of the U.S. medical establishment.
"Mary and Her Little Lambs."
The chief architect of the lobby was Mrs. Albert D. Lasker, wife of a prominent and wealthy citizen who had made a fortune in advertising. Mary Lasker had worked with voluntary organizations and took a major role in reorganizing the American Cancer Society. She knew of the National Health Survey of 1936, which emphasized the poor state of health among American people. The fact that four million of fourteen million men examined for military service before June 1944 had been rejected as mentally or physically unfit convinced her and others that...
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Menninger, William Claire 1899-1966
ADVOCATE FOR MENTAL-HEALTH TREATMENT
Contributions to Psychiatry.
Psychiatry was a field few American medical practitioners knew much about in the 1940s. There was a widespread notion that psychiatry was either hilariously funny or sacrilegious or maybe even subversive. The popularization of Freudian psychoanalysis in the United States contributed to this perception. William Claire Menninger greatly contributed to a new perspective on psychiatry in the United States and to the rapid development of the field. Because of the large number of psychiatric problems and casualties in the U.S. Army during World War II, Surgeon General Norman T. Kirk declared psychiatry equal to medicine and surgery, and in December 1943 he appointed Brig. Gen. William Menninger as director of the Neuropsychiatry Consultants Division. As Menninger directed the expansion of the army's psychiatric work, his good-humored personality and professional ability helped him break down many of the walls of suspicion and hostility against psychiatry and improved the military's handling of soldiers with mental problems. He greatly expanded the United States Army's Neuropsychiatric Division and publicized the need for greater mental-health treatment to the American public.
The "Mayo Clinic of Psychiatry."
Menninger received his M.D. from Cornell...
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Skinner, B. F. 1904-1990
AMERICA'S PREEMINENT BEHAVIORAL
Literature's Loss Is Psychology's Gain.
B. F. Skinner, the foremost behavioral psychologist in the United States, first imagined a career for himself as an author of fiction and poetry. In his senior year at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, he sent some short stories to the poet Robert Frost. Frost's response, "I ought to say you have the touch of art," encouraged the young Skinner to spend the year following his graduation writing short stories at his parents' home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His discovery of "the unhappy fact that I had nothing to say" led him to go on to graduate school in psychology, "hoping to remedy that shortcoming." During his undergraduate days at Hamilton, Skinner had read an English translation of Ivan Pavlov's Conditioned Reflexes and the philosopher Bertrand Russell's articles on behaviorism. Also inspired by John B. Watson's work on the relatively new theory of behaviorism, Skinner decided to attend Harvard University for his graduate work in psychology, receiving his Ph.D. in 1931....
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Sullivan, Harry Stack 1892-1949
THE INTERPERSONAL" THEORY OF PSYCHIATRY
A "National Resource."
A federal government official called Harry Stack Sullivan "one of our important, largely unutilized national resources" when he served as a psychiatric consultant to the director of the Selective Service System during World War II. Sullivan himself believed his chief contribution to modern psychiatry was to define its meaning as "the scientific study of personality and of interpersonal relations."
The Importance of Social Factors.
Isolated as a boy on a New York farm, the young Sullivan was fascinated with people and their relationships. He toyed with the idea of becoming a physicist, but by the time he graduated from high school he had decided to study medicine and psychiatry. In order to pay his Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery debts, Sullivan began his medical career as an internist. His career in psychiatry officially began when the federal government hired him as U.S. veterans' liaison officer at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C., where he made his reputation as a humane and creative therapist with schizophrenic patients. From there he went to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, where his studies on schizophrenic patients convinced him of the importance of social factors in explaining mental health...
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Waksman, Selman A. 1888-1973
THE DISCOVERER OF STREPTOMYCIN
Sometimes medical discoveries are dramatic accidents. In other cases they are the result of years of painstaking research. Selman A. Waksman, a microbiologist, and his small group of assistants worked for years to unearth the new antibiotic, streptomycin, which comes from the soil. Their discovery set into motion a chain of events that led to the closing of many tuberculosis sanatoriums because there were no longer enough patients to keep them open.
Antibiotics from the Earth.
Waksman was born in Russia and at the age of twenty-two came to the United States. He graduated from Rutgers University and began his career in the field of science as a research assistant at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California. Studying the microbial inhabitants of the soil for thirty-nine years, he observed that actinomycetes (a genus...
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People in the News
On 30 March 1941 Dr. Frank E. Adair, chairman of the executive committee of the American Society for the Control of Cancer, reported a 30 percent increase in cures of operable breast cancer from 1920 to 1935.
Drs. Herbert D. Adams and Leo V. Hand of Boston announced on 6 January 1942 the revival of a man whose heart had stopped beating for twenty minutes during a lung operation.
University of IIllinois professor Dr. H. W. Anderson announced on 15 August 1945 that the drug streptomycin might surpass penicillin in effectiveness.
Dr. George C. Andrews of New York Presbyterian Hospital said on 7 April 1941 that "smoker's cancer" of the lower lip was not from smoking but was a result of a chronic inflammation of the lower lip from habitual sunburn.
On 5 May 1949 Dr. Oswald Avery of Nashville received the Passano Prize for isolating pneumonia germs and classifying the disease into four types.
Temple University Medical School announced on 8 August 1946 the development of the electrocardiograph by Dr. Bert Boone, allowing doctors to detect heart disease in the early stages by photographing heart motion.
Dr. R. C. Brock reported on 10 June 1948 the first successful operation within the human heart to relieve pulmonary...
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NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN MEDICINE
Henrik C. P. Dam (Denmark) for his discovery of vitamin K.
Edward A. Doisy (United States) for his work in the chemistry of vitamin K.
Joseph Erlanger (United States) and Herbert S. Gasser (United States) for their discoveries on the differentiated functions of single nerve fibers.
Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst B. Chain, and Sir Howard W. Florey (Great Britain) for their discovery of penicillin and its effect on curing certain infectious diseases.
Herman J. Muller (United States) for discovering mutations by the use of X rays.
Carl F. Cori (United States) and Gerty T. Cori (United States, born in Czechoslovakia) for their research on the catalytic conversion of glycogen.
Paul H. Muller (Switzerland) for his...
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Dr. Fred H. Albee, 68, world-famous orthopedic surgeon, 15 February 1945.
Lewis Allen, 75, nationally known radiologist and teacher at the University of Kansas medical school, 28 May 1948.
Dr. William Seaman Bainbridge, 77, New York City cancer authority, 22 Sept 1947.
Dr. Edward Robinson Baldwin, 82, tuberculosis authority, 6 May 1947.
Sir Frederick Grant Banting, 49, codiscoverer of insulin and Nobel Prize winner killed in a military plane crash, 21 February 1941.
Dr. Rupert Blue, 80, former U.S. surgeon general, 12 April 1948.
Col. Earle Booth, 66, former Broadway producer who organized the Blood Donor Service, 12 September 1949.
Dr. Abraham Brill, 73, psychiatrist who first translated Sigmund Freud's work into English, 1 March 1948.
Dr. Harvey J. Burkhart, 85, director of Eastman Dental Foundation, 22 September 1946.
Sister Leopoldina Burns, 85, the last surviving aide to Father Damien in leper nursing, 3 June 1942.
Dr. Eben Carey, 57, famous anatomist and dean of Marquette University medical school, 5 June 1947.
Dr. C. V. Chapin, 85, public-health expert and authority on...
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Kenneth F. Albrecht, Modern Management in Clinical Medicine (New York: McBride, 1946);
Raymond B. Allen, Medical Education and the Changing Order (New York: Commonwealth Fund, 1946);
George William Bachman, The Issue of Compulsory Health Insurance (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1948);
L. F. Barker, Time and the Physician (New York: Putnam, 1942);
Louis H. Bauer, Private Enterprise or Government in Medicine (Springfield, I11.: Thomas, 1948);
F. C. Bishop, "Insect Problems in World War II with Special References to the Insecticide DDT," American Journal of Public Health (April 1945): 373-378;
Ernst Philip Boas, Treatment of the Patient Past Fifty (Chicago: Year Book Publishing, 1944);
Amy Francis Brown, Medical Nursing (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1945);
F. A. Bryan, "Radioactive Isotopes in Medicine," Hygeia (April 1947): 286-287+;
E. Chain, H. W. Florey, and others, "Penicillin as a Chemotherapeutic Agent," Lancet, 2 (1940): 226;
Alfred Einstein Cohn, No Retreat from Reason, and Other Essays (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1948);
E. H. L. Corwin, The American Hospital (New York:...
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Important Events in Medicine and Health, 1940–1949
- A team of researchers at the Rockefeller Institute discovers the Rh factor in blood.
- Rebecca Lancefield identifies streptococcus group A as the cause of rheumatic fever.
- The Rockefeller Foundation announces it will make a recently developed vaccine available to Britain to fight influenza in the war zone.
- On May 22, the Council of Foods of the American Medical Association (AMA) gives its first seal of approval to the Bird's Eye Corporation for its quick-frozen foods.
- In August, there are deadly outbreaks of polio in West Virginia and Indiana during the summer.
- On October 10, the medical faculty at Stockholm University announces it will not award the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1940 because of the ongoing war.
- On October 21, the Clinical College of the American College of Surgeons recommends a detailed plan for having doctors serve in the military without causing hardships at home.
- On October 31, sulfaguanidine is announced as a cure for bacterial dysentery, a common disease among troops in the tropics.
- In December, influenza reaches epidemic proportions in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho.
- Clinical use of oral...
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