Topics in the News
Fearing a repeat of the 1918 worldwide flu epidemic that killed more people than military action during World War I, Americans anxiously braced themselves for an onslaught of the Asian flu in 1957. This mutant, vaccine resistant form of Type-A influenza, the most threatening of the flu viruses, began appearing in northern China early in the year and threatened to be the deadliest epidemic of the century. It was estimated that a wave of Asian flu could spread from coast to coast in a month and that as many as twenty-six million Americans might fall ill as a result.
The World Health Organization identified the epidemic in Asia early in the year and alerted national health agencies to prepare for the worst. Before the virus made its way to America, the word had been spread to the public about its virulent potential, and medical researchers had begun to search for an effective vaccine. At a meeting called by the U.S. surgeon general, 130 members of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers of the United States were advised to provide weekly "flusituation bulletins" to the Public Health Service. Drug companies were mobilized for emergency preparation of a flu vaccine.
A flu vaccine was not approved until July 1957. It was tested on fifty-five volunteers at the Maryland...
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The Business of Health Care
How Much is Good Health Worth?
The cliché that you cannot put a price on good health was vigorously challenged in the 1950s. People's astonishment at the accomplishments of medical science turned into shock when they found out the cost. Billions of dollars were spent on health care during the 1950s, and it was not enough. There were still sick people and dreaded diseases. There was also optimism that a disease-free society was within reach, if only Americans could afford it.
The Government and Health Care.
The government became a major force in the medical field after World
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The Most Dreaded Disease.
For Americans in the 1950s, there was no diagnosis of illness more feared than cancer. Heart disease killed twice as many people annually, but it did not cause the pain or fear of malignant tumors. In 1958 Science Digest reported that there were 450,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year and that at any one time about seven hundred thousand cases of cancer were being treated in America. In 1958, according to Patterns of Disease, a publication by Parke, Davis, one woman in four under the age of thirty-five could expect to get cancer, and one in seven would die from it; one man in five under the age of fifty would be afflicted, and one in eight would die.
At the beginning of the 1950s some physicians considered cancer to be incurable, and many hospitals considered it their duty to guard their cancer patients from intrusions by researchers. Two groups changed that attitude and focused health attention during the decade on cancer. The American Cancer Society devoted enormous energy to the fight against the disease. Its high-visibility fund-raising campaign heightened public optimism that cancer was curable, concentrated the attention of the public on early detection, and provided much-needed money for research.
The Government Response....
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The Common Cold
False Promises of a Cure.
Colds are caused by a variety of different viruses. To vaccinate a person against a cold or to cure one would require a defense against each of the possible viral culprits, an unlikely possibility. That did not stop drug companies advertising cold medications, usually consisting of antihistamines to control nasal stuffiness, from claiming they could cure or prevent colds. In March 1950 the Federal Trade Commission charged the makers of the popular medicines Resistabs, Inhiston, Kripton, and Anahist with false advertising for their exaggerated claims of effectiveness against colds. Later in the year, another federal agency showed that antihistamines are about as successful against colds as plain sugar.
A Cold Vaccine.
In 1959 there was a stir of interest when Dr. Victor Haas, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced that a vaccine seemed imminent that would prevent at least half all of respiratory illnesses, including common colds. The breakthrough came with the identification of adenoviruses (viruses originating in the adenoids that cause respiratory illnesses), which do not cause colds. A vaccine was tested succesfully by the U.S. Navy, but it prevented only one type of cold and was soon dismissed as more trouble than it was worth. Cold sufferers during the fifties may...
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Public Awareness of Germs.
If the health concerns of the average American during the 1950s had to be reduced to a single word, it would probably be germs, or disease-causing microorganisms. Then as now, few people knew much about germs except that they were sometimes passed from one person to another and that they can cause many types of misery, including colds, flu, measles, mumps, herpes, syphilis and gonorrhea, tuberculosis, polio, and even, according to some researchers of the day, cancer. The public concern about germs was not to know more about how they lived but to know more about how to kill them, and thus the new miracle germ poisons—especially streptomycin, Terramycin, and synthetic penicillin—seemed to herald a disease-free society.
What are Germs?
The two most feared germs are bacteria and viruses. During the 1950s microbiologists made remarkable advances in the understanding and control of these tiny enemies. But not all viruses and bacteria are harmful; on the contrary, many forms pose no threat to humans. In fact, the body depends on good bacteria to function properly.
The important difference between bacteria and viruses for the nonscientist is that while bacteria can be killed, viruses can sometimes only be disabled. Though bacteria are larger than...
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The Deadliest Disease.
Half of all American deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease in the 1950s. Though that statistic has not changed significantly in recent decades, it seemed during the first half of the century that every year there were more people complaining of heart ailments and more people dying from them. In fact, the increase was probably a result of better diagnosis. Doctors knew far more about the heart in 1950 than they did in 1900. Like the other major diseases, heart disease attracted unprecedented attention from medical researchers during the 1950s. When President Eisenhower was struck by a heart attack in 1955, the nation's attention was focused sharply.
Experimentation and Discovery.
An American reading a newspaper in the early 1950s could only have shaken his head incredulously at the fantastic news about the work of cardiologists and heart surgeons. In Philadelphia an eleven-year-old girl was put in a freezer, like the ones people had in their kitchens, to lower her body temperature to eighty-eight degrees so doctors chould stop her blood flow for five minutes while they closed a hole in the wall of her heart. In Washington, D.C., surgeons implanted an artificial, mechanical valve similar to a plumbing device in the rheumatic heart of a thirty-year-old woman, restoring her to health.
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The Benny Hooper Incident
Boy Falls in Well.
For twenty-four hours in May 1957, seven-year-old Benny Hooper was a national celebrity. He fell into a twenty-one-foot-deep, ten-inch-wide well being dug for irrigation by his father, and he was trapped. Manorville, the Long Island, New York, community where he lived rallied to his support, along with the East Coast news establishment, as construction workers, firemen, policemen, and a physician worked feverishly over a daylong period to save Benny's life. The drama was covered by over one hundred news reporters and over forty television and radio broadcasters. Both the New York Times and the New York Daily News used airplanes to get the pictures they needed. Nineteen and a half hours into the ordeal, Dr. Joseph H. Kris, attending physician, admitted that there was little hope. But he was
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Hoxsey Cancer Cure
Hope for Sale.
People tend to look first to the medical community for cures to their diseases. When doctors fail, desperate patients seek hope in the form of quackery. Because it was so frightening and because medical researchers were frustrated in their efforts to find a cure, cancer attracted an unusual share of fake healers.
Coal Miner's Recipe.
Among the most persistent was Harry M. Hoxsey, a coal miner who began selling liquid medicines and pills in 1924, promising miracle cures to cancer victims. According to his own account, Hoxsey's cancer medicine included licorice, red clover, burdock root, stillingia root, barberis root, poke root, cascara, prickly ash bark, buckthorn bark, and potassium iodide, an old family recipe. His grandfather developed the medicine to cure horses. The Food and Drug Administration ruled that Hoxsey's pills were useless for humans and maybe even promoted the growth of cancer.
The Cost of Treatment.
Hoxsey survived many local, state, and federal attempts over the years to put him out of business, producing with unflagging energy a succession of patients attesting to cures at his seventeen clinics, with main offices in Dallas, Texas, and Portage, Pennsylvania. The cost was $460 per treatment in the mid 1950s. The FDA charged that Hoxsey's cures, which...
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A National Disgrace.
During the 1950s it was calculated that one family in three would admit a member to a mental institution. By 1959 on an average day some eight hundred thousand Americans were in mental hospitals, and many of them would never leave. Yet in 1955 there were only some forty-seven hundred fully certified psychiatrists in the United States, and only five hundred new psychiatrists were being trained each year. In a decade of enthusiastic spending for medical research, mental health was shorted. Cancer, which afflicted about 16 percent fewer people than mental health, attracted more than 400 percent more research money. As a result, many mental institutions became little more than overcrowded ware-houses where tormented people waited to die.
Columbus State Hospital.
In October and November 1956 The Saturday Evening Post ran a six-part series on mental hospitals that focused attention on one that seemed to be typical—Columbus State Hospital, which had been called the Central Ohio Lunatic Asylum before modern sensitivity demanded that the name be changed. A sprawling complex on 333 acres of land, Columbus State Hospital was one of the eleven "prolonged care" mental hospitals in Ohio which housed altogether 35,000 patients and employed a staff of 9,000. Columbus State Hospital cared for some 2,700 patients. Of these,...
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National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis
The March of Dimes.
The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis was founded in 1938 by Franklin D, Roosevelt as a national successor to the Warm Springs Foundation he established in 1927. The purpose of the foundation was to provide funds for polio research, education, and patient aid. It was supported by private donations to what was throughout the 1950s an annual fund-raising drive called the March of Dimes. By the mid 1950s most large cities held televised twenty-four-hour telethons in which celebrities would urge viewers to give. The telethons were augmented by door-to-door collections performed by individuals and community groups. Between 1937 and 1957 the March of Dimes collected approximately $500 million, and 1956 alone the March of Dimes raised $52 million. In 1958, the war against polio largely won, the organization changed its name to the National Foundation and broadened its interests.
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Fear of Polio.
During the early 1950s no disease attracted as much attention as polio. A Gallup poll conducted in 1954 when the Salk vaccine was being tested indicated that more people knew about the polio vaccine tests than knew the name of the president. Polio struck children far more often than adults, and there seemed to be little a parent could do to protect against it. Moreover, it struck without regard to the victim's race or social class, and so it demanded the attention of both the medical and political establishments. When Dr. Hart E, Van Riper, the director of the NFIP, announced in 1953 that more cases of polio had been reported in the past five years than in the previous twenty, many parents failed to hear that he was optimistic about a cure.
The rumor mill was pernicious as ever. Dr. Van Riper dispelled the notion that fruit, insects, animals, and bad genes cause polio. As polio tended to strike during the summer, he advised parents that they could send their children to camp if the camp had proper medical supervision, but he warned against camps where polio had been reported. He cautioned parents about letting their children mix with crowds or come into close contact with stangers in such settings as movie theaters, playgrounds, or beaches. He advised that swimming pools do not themselves cause polio, but...
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President's Council on Youth Fitness
In 1957 President Eisenhower acted on his dismay at the physical weakness of American youth. According to the results of a study testing "minimum muscular fitness," more than half of the American children tested could not pass. Worse, when the same test was given to a group of European students, more than 90 percent of them passed.
The President's Response.
The president, a former army general, considered the country's physical fitness important to national security and a strong national character. To try to correct what he called the "fitness gap," he created the President's Council on Youth Fitness, a cabinet-level project headed by Vice-president Richard Nixon. The council advised schools and communities to provide more opportunities for organized sports and safe outdoor play.
The Price of Progress.
Behaviorial experts of the time pointed out the irony of the situation: much of the decline in American fitness was a result of the country's progress. Thanks to the labor-saving devices in almost every American home, children had fewer, and less-strenuous, chores. More roads and more traffic often made walking or bicycling to school too dangerous. The growth of cities and suburbs took away space outside for children to play; and because of television, they too rarely...
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A New Way of Seeing.
You cannot fix what you cannot see. That principle explains in large part why medical research showed such dramatic results in the 1950s. On the one hand the very powerful electron microscope was available in some labs for the first time. On the other, X-ray technology was refined so that it could be commonly used for diagnosis. The first X-ray machine that could take a picture of an entire human body without overly exposing it to radiation was announced in 1951.
Radiation therapy extended beyond the X-ray lab. A happy side effect of the nuclear research being conducted in the cause of national defense was that scientists began to understand how radiation works. They learned that controlled low-level radiation could be used for medical purposes.
In 1950 physicians developed a technique using radiation and X rays together. Doctors learned that cancerous tumors absorb radioactive material several times more readily than normal tissue. They asked patients to swallow capsules filled with low-level radioactive materials. After allowing time for digestion, they used a Geiger counter on the outside of the abdomen. If they found areas unusually high in radioactivity, they assumed the reaction came from a cancerous tumor. Soon...
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The Tranquilizer Boom.
In 1957 there were seventy-three brands of tranquilizers, marketed by thirty-six drug companies, available to Americans by prescription. Most of them were derivatives of the same small group of chemicals that slow down the action of the central nervous system and thus reduce nervous tension and anxiety. In 1956 physicians and psychiatrists wrote thirty-five million prescriptions for tranquilizers—a rate of one every second—and anxious patients paid $150 million to get their pills, or about $4.30 per prescription. In the mid 1950s, when tranquilizer prescriptions could be refilled indefinitely, these new drugs gained a popularity that alarmed some doctors.
Relaxation without Aftereffects.
The most popular tranquilizer, generically called meprobomate, was developed in 1950 by the drug firm Ludwig and Piech from a chemical similar to antifreeze. This medicine, called Mil-town, seemed to have all the benefits and none of the side effects of the most heralded tranquilizer being tested, thorazine. Also called Equinal by the drug manufacturer Wyeth Laboratories, meprobomate was touted as a non-habit-forming cure for anxiety and nervous tension. The drug, which came in pill form, achieved its effect about forty-five minutes after ingestion. The result was a satisfying sensation caused by muscular relaxation....
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The White Plague.
Americans had lived in fear of tuberculosis for nearly three-quarters of a century by the 1950s. Because the disease is deadly and highly infectious, victims were isolated in special hospitals called sanatoriums, where at the beginning of the century, at least, they lived out their last days with other patients. The death rate from tuberculosis in 1950 was only 11 percent of what it was in 1900; still 33,633 people died from the disease that year. By 1955 the number of deaths from tuberculosis had been halved.
In 1956 the Annual Report of the National Tuberculosis Association contained good news: deaths from tuberculosis were down to sixteen thousand a year. For the first time in history, tuberculosis had fallen from the list of the top ten diseases rated by the number of deaths they cause. (By the end of the decade the death rate was down to just over ten thousand a year.) The report also contained the alarming fact that one American in three was infected with the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. The conclusion was that everyone had to be careful of developing the disease. Schoolchildren were tested periodically, and physicians acted swiftly with effective drugs when tuberculosis was suspected. As a resuit, by the middle of the decade new infections were most common among the down-and-out who did not...
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War and Sex.
In the decade after World War II, reported cases of both syphilis and gonorrhea dropped dramatically. There were two reasons. First, during war-time many people tend to relax their standards of sexual behavior, with the result that venereal diseases increase. With the return to normality, there is a corresponding decrease in sexually transmitted diseases. The pattern also occurred during and after World War I.
The second reason for the decrease was that after World War II public health offices, bolstered by generous federal, state, and local budgets, devised a system called case finders to diagnose venereal disease in patients and then to locate and treat every person who had sexual contact with a disease carrier. The case-finder system actively sought out disease carriers and cured them, effectively controlling the spread of disease.
The Cost of Success.
The system was so successful in reducing reported cases of venereal disease that the expense-conscious federal government concluded in the early 1950s that expenditures for the control of venereal disease could be sharply reduced. The decade-long decline in syphilis rates ended in 1956, and it was estimated that there were about one million cases a year of gonorrhea. In 1947 the federal government provided...
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Dooley, Thomas A. 1927-1961
MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO SOUTHEAST ASÍA
A Vow to Help the Disadvantaged.
To Americans in the 1950s Dr. Thomas A. Dooley was a "secular saint," risking his life to take the benefits of the Golden Age of Medicine to the neediest people in the world. During his service as a U.S. Navy ship's doctor in 1954 he treated refugees from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, tending as best he could to their cholera, leprosy, many tropical diseases, and war and torture injuries. Moved by their poverty and poor health, Dooley vowed that when his navy service was over he would return to help the people of Laos, a small neighbor of Vietnam. He provided many people in Southeast Asia with the first medical treatment they had ever received.
In the United States Dooley and several other doctors formed Medico, a nonprofit organization created to gather personnel and supplies for Dooley's planned hospital in Laos and other similar facilities projected for Asia, Africa, and South America. The profits from a bestselling book he had written about his experiences in Vietnam, Deliver Us From Evil (1956), helped start the...
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Enders, Dr. John Franklin 1897-1985
DEAN OF THE AMERICAN-VIRUS HUNTERS"; DEVELOPED PROCEDURE FOR MASS PRODUCTION OF POLIO VIRUS; DEVELOPED VACCINE AGAINST MEASLES
Delivery of Polio Vaccine.
Dr. John Franklin Enders made important contributions in the 1950s to the fight against several infectious diseases, most notably polio. The development of the Salk vaccine in the first half of the decade was a major step in controlling the disease, but even this first major victory was only half-won. The problem of immunizing American children on a wide scale still remained. Large quantities of the polio virus were necessary to make the vaccine, which injected dead viruses into the body in order to stimulate the body's immune system, (See the section on polio in this chapter.)
At this time Enders was a professor of microbiology at Harvard Medical School and a director of research at the Children's Medical Center in Boston. His own research into polio determined that the virus could be cultivated in a variety of types of tissue. This discovery made possible mass production of the Salk vaccine. For his achievement Enders was honored by the medical community with several awards, including the 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine, which he shared with two colleagues (and former students), Drs. Thomas Weiler and Frederick Robbins.
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Freeman, Dr. Walter 1895-1972
CHIEF PROMOTER AND PRACTITIONER OF TRANS-ORBITAL OR ICE-PICK, LOBOTOMY IN THE UNITED STATES
Dr. Walter Jackson Freeman was a tireless missionary preaching the benefits of the lobotomy to mental-health practitioners during the 1950s. He promoted the transorbital lobotomy, which he had popularized, as such an uncomplicated procedure that psychiatrists not schooled in surgery could perform it with minimal training. Also known as the ice-pick lobotomy, because Freeman performed his earliest surgeries with that common tool before more-precise surgical instruments were designed for his use, transorbital lobotomies were performed by inserting a sharp probe into the frontal lobe of the brain through the eye socket and wiggling the probe vigorously to dislodge portions of the brain thought to cause emotional disruptions. Throughout the 1950s Freeman traveled around the country demonstrating and teaching this procedure, sometimes performing as many as twenty-five lobotomies in a day.
Promoting the Lobotomy.
Dr. Freeman was introduced to the notion of what was called psychosurgery in 1936 through a journal article by the surgeon Egas Moniz. The Portuguese doctor advocated treating extreme forms of mental illness by drilling holes in a patient's skull and digging cores of material from his brain. With a...
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Gibbon, John H., Jr. 1903-1973
DEVELOPER OF THE FIRST PRACTICAL HEART-LUNG MACHINE
Stimulus to Discovery.
One day in 1930, while serving as a Harvard research fellow in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Gibbon watched a patient undergoing heart-lung surgery suffocate on his own blood. To help such patients, he and his wife experimented with several different types of machines, until in 1935 they successfully used a heart-lung device on a dog, maintaining its life for thirty-nine minutes. But they had trouble developing an artificial lung big enough for humans.
Research Support and Success.
In the late 1940s Gibbon became associated with the IBM Corporation, which provided engineers at the company's expense to aid him in the development of his oxygenator. Finally, in May 1953, Gibbon and F. F. Albritten, Jr., used the heart-lung machine during surgery to close a large opening in the heart wall of an eighteen-year-old girl, maintaining all of the patient's heart and lung functions on the machine for twenty-six minutes. The he art-lung machine paved the way for modern open-heart surgery, including procedures for the correction of congenital heart defects in infants, the repair of heart valves, coronary-bypass surgery, and heart transplants.
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Koprowski, Hilary 1916-
EMINENT VIROLOGIST; DEVELOPER OF THE FIRST POLIO VACCINE
Hilary Koprowski developed the first polio vaccine tried on humans, but it failed, and his work in the field was overshadowed by the successes of Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Even so, Dr. Koprowski's polio research revealed much about the structure and operation of the virus. He later distinguished himself for his research in cell biology as director of the Wistar Institute.
Koprowski emigrated from Poland in 1939. He took a position on the staff of the Yellow Fever Research Service of the Rockefeller Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he worked on the development of vaccines against a parasitic disease related to yellow fever. In Brazil he gained much experience with infectious viral disease patterns and with vaccination using attenuated, or weakened, strains of virus.
Beginning in 1946 Koprowski worked on the staff at Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River, New York, where he supervised experiments dealing with two viruses of the central nervous system, polio and rabies. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Lederle and Koprowski assumed a leading role in polio research.
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Sabin, Albert B. 1906-
VIROLOGIST WHO DEVELOPED THE UNTIMATE POLIO VACCINE
A Better Vaccine.
Albert Sabin developed an orally administered attenuated-virus vaccine against polio that by the early 1960s had completely replaced the dead-virus vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk. Sabin's vaccine provided nearly lifetime immunity and furnished the means to eradicate polio ultimately, yet his work did not attract the publicity that Salk's did. This was because Sabin did much of his research in the Soviet Union during the cold war.
Polish-born Sabin worked at odd jobs to put himself through undergraduate and medical school. He developed his interest in virology as an intern at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where he succeeded in isolating a strain of the pneumonia virus. In 1935 he took a position at the Rockefeller Institute and began investigating the polio virus. His early research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, supported by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, established the...
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Salk, Jonas E. 1914-
VROLOGÍST WHO DEVELOPED THE FIRST WIDELY ADMINISTERED POLIO VACCINE
Jonas Salk was propelled into worldwide acclaim for his development of the first successful long-term vaccine against polio. Although the Salk polio vaccine achieved incomplete immunity and was completely replaced within a decade, Americans in the mid 1950s viewed Salk as a hero in the battle against a disease that had crippled a president (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and shortened or restricted tens of thousands of young lives.
Director of Virus Research.
When the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine expanded its Virus Research Laboratory in 1947, the thirty-three-year-old Salk was named its director. During the course of a three-year project funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, he demonstrated the existence of three types of polio virus and concluded that a vaccine must immunize against all of them to be effective.
Salk and the NFIP.
Salk developed a close relationship with NFIP director Basil O'Connor, who came to...
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Taussig, Helen B. 1898-1986
UNHERALDED DEVELOPER OF PROCEDURE TO CURE "BLUE-BABY SYNDROME"
In 1927 Helen B. Taussig graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School, and in 1930 she assumed the directorship of the school's Pediatrie Cardiac Clinic. She worked in the field of congenital heart disease, particularly the "blue-baby syndrome," in which blood left unoxygenated by a defect in the circulatory system turns the skin of babies blue.
Partnership with Alfred Blalock.
In 1940 Taussig began to ponder the possibility of an operation to increase blood flow to the lungs, and she enlisted the aid of Dr. Alfred Blalock, a full professor in surgery at Johns Hopkins, in 1942. Taussig suggested to Blalock that he attempt to increase the blood flow to the lungs by joining two arteries that are naturally close to one another, the subclavian artery and the pulmonary artery.
In November 1944, after more than two years of experiments performed on dogs, Blalock successfully tried the procedure on a one-year-old girl who weighed only about one pound due to the disease. He subsequently refined the operation so that the mortality rate was only 4.7 percent, and the operation became the preferred method of treating "blue babies."
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People in the News
In 1950, Walter L. Blum, while serving as professor of biochemistry at Emory University, developed dextran, a synthetic substitute for blood plasma.
In 1958 physician K. Brodman formulated a computer method for medical diagnosis, feeding patient data into an IBM processor.
In 1959 Houston physician B. S. Freeman successfully transplanted a girl's toe to replace a thumb lost in an accident.
University of Illinois clinician W. J. Fry began destroying small sections of his patients' brains with radiation to reduce the tremors of Parkinson's disease in 1958.
John W. Gofman, a coronary researcher at the Donner Laboratory of the University of California, developed the Gofman test, a procedure that separated human blood parts in a centrifuge to predict atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
In 1958 Carl Heller, a University of Oregon clinician, administered large doses of the female hormone progesterone to twenty-one convict volunteers and reported that the subjects' potency, sperm count, and libido dropped to zero. After ceasing use of the drug normal function reappeared in all the subjects in about fourteen weeks.
From 1957 to 1959 A. L. Higden, a Teaneck, New Jersey, physician, studied the childbirth experiences of twenty-one...
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NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN MEDICINE
1950: Philip S. Bench (United States), Edward C. Kendall (United States), and Tadeus Reichstein (Switzerland), for work on the structural and biological effects of the adrenal cortex hormones cortisone and ACTH.
1951: MaxTheiler (United States, born in South Africa), for work on the yellow fever virus and related organisms.
1952: Selman A. Waksman (United States, born in Russia), for the discovery of streptomycin and its development as a treatment for tuberculosis and other diseases not affected by penicillin.
1953: Hans A. Krebs (Great Britain, born in Germany), for the discovery of the citric-acid cycle by which the body produces energy; and Fritz A. Lipmann (United States, born in Germany), for the discovery of coenzyme A and its role in the metabolic system.
1954: John F. Enders (United States), Frederick C. Robbins (United States), and Thomas H. Weller (United States), for their discoveries concerning the cultivation of poliomyelitis virus in nonnervous tissues.
1955: Alex H. T. Theorell (Sweden), for work on oxidation enzymes.
1956: Andre F. Cournand (United States, born in France), Werner Forssmann...
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Carl Beck, 88, surgeon, specialist in treating crippled hands and arms, cofounder of Saint Anthony's Hospital and North Chicago Hospital, 21 July 1952.
Nathan Thomas Beers, 76, dermatologist, 7 July 1950.
Jean Broadhurst, 80, bacteriologist who discovered a test for the measles virus, 5 September 1954.
Edward H. Cary, 81, eye specialist, former president of the American Medical Association, 11 December 1953.
Theodore L. Chase, 84, surgeon and cancer specialist, 12 February 1950.
Edwin J. Cohn, chemist, contributed to the development of gamma globulin, serum albumin, and liver extract, 1 October 1953.
Lewis A. Conner, 83, authority on heart disease, 3 December 1950.
Charles S. Danzer, 54, specialist in internal medicine, 19 January 1950.
Robert Latou Dickinson, 89, gynecologist, advocate of birth control and euthanasia, 29 November 1950.
Benjamin Duggar, 84, discoverer of the antibiotic Aureomycin, 10 September 1956.
Howard Fox, 81, skin specialist, founder and first President of the American Academy of Dermatology and Syphilology, 19 October 1954.
Annie W. Goodrich, 89, nurse, in...
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Hank Bloomgarden, Before We Sleep (New York: Putnam, 1958);
Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Viruses and Man (London & Baltimore: Penguin, 1953);
James Bordley, III, and A. McGehee Harvey, Two Centuries of American Medicine (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1976);
Charlotte Carter, Cancer, Smoking, Heart-Disease, Drinking—In Our Two World Systems Today (Toronto: Northern Book House, 1957);
"The Crisis in American Medicine," Harpers, 221 (October 1960): 121-168;
Michael M. Davis, Medical Care for Tomorrow (New York: Harper, 1955);
Agnes Wise Dooley, Promises to Keep (New York: New American Library, 1964);
Rene Dubos, Mirage of Health (New York: Harper,1959);
Leonard Engel, The Operation: A Minute-by-Minute Account of a Heart Operation—and the Story of Medicine and Surgery that Led Up to It (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958);
William Greer, Virus Hunters (New York: Knopf, 1959);
"The Half-Century Mark," eleven-part series in Today's Health, February 1950-December 1950;
Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (Philadelphia: Saunders,...
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Important Events in Medicine and Health, 1950–1959
- A human aorta transplant is performed, the hepititis A virus is isolated and photographed, and penicillin is synthesized.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist Robert G. Benedict discovers a new type of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis.
- The American Medical Association approves a resolution that white medical schools should admit African American students.
- Americans spent $8.4 billion on medical care.
- On January 1, the U.S. had 134 centers that specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
- On January 26, a new antibiotic, Terramycin, is developed.
- On March 7, blood tests for tuberculosis are introduced.
- On April 14, stomach cancers are detected using radioactive pills that a patient swallowed.
- On April 18, heart massage revives a patient pronounced dead during surgery.
- The nausea-inducing drug antabus is marketed as a cure for alcoholism.
- Antibiotics are used to stimulate growth in livestock.
- USDA microbiologist Kenneth B. Raper develops a new technique for producing penicillin.
- On July 25, the full-body X-ray machine...
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