Topics in the News
A New Disease.
About the beginning of the decade, physicians discovered the existence of a "new" illness. This disease burst on the world scene in a terrible way as a new "plague" striking mankind. For a while there was general alarm when Americans discovered that the disease was linked to sex, blood, and drugs. It came to be known as AIDS, an acronym that stood for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks certain cells in the immune system, leaving it unable to fight off "opportunistic" infectious diseases and certain unusual cancers. The virus also can invade brain cells, leading to psychological disturbances. The disease is always fatal.
The first warnings came when a Los Angeles physician noticed a cluster of symptoms from young men in California who were members of the growing gay community there. The first official announcement was published on 5 June 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the federal epidemiology agency in Atlanta. The CDC researches health problems and works to prevent and control the spread of disease. In its weekly bulletin the CDC described several severe pneumonia cases observed in five patients in three Los Angeles hospitals. All the victims were young gay men, and all had lethal pneumonia called PCP from...
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Alcohol and Premature Death.
In 1985, two letter writers to the Journal of the American Medical Association used 1980 data from the National Center for Health Statistics to call attention to the premature deaths of American teenagers from the abuse of alcohol. The authors studied the deaths of persons ten to nineteen years of age in 1980 whose death certificates showed alcohol as an underlying or contributing cause of death.
Deaths from Alcohol Abuse.
They found eight deaths in persons younger than fifteen years old. The youngest child, a twelve-year-old girl, died of exposure to the weather. From fifteen to nineteen years of age there were 276 deaths. Fifty-two deaths were because of alcohol abuse without trauma, including 9 from aspiration of food, 7 from exposure, and 3 with acute pancreatitis. The remaining deaths from trauma, by cause and number, were: motor vehicle accidents, 126; drowning, 32; shooting, 26; stabbing, 7; carbon monoxide inhalation, 7; hanging, 6; drugs or poisoning by chemicals, 6; falls from heights, 5; fire, 4; and "other," 5.
Alcohol Deaths Underestimated and Underreported.
The authors concluded that deaths associated with alcohol abuse were still vastly underestimated and underreported. A study in San Francisco in 1985 showed alcohol blood levels...
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More than Simple Forgetfulness.
Do you ever leave the house and wonder if you remembered to turn off the iron or the water? All people experience this occasional absentmindedness, but for some it is the beginning of the loss of their minds—and a long, wasting death. In November 1989 researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital found that more than 10 percent of people sixty-five years old and older, and nearly half of those older than eighty-five, suffered from "probable" Alzheimer's disease. This new information almost doubled previous estimates, raising the number to as many as 4 million victims nationwide. With predictions of 14 million victims by the year 2050, Alzheimer's was becoming "one of the biggest public health dilemmas we've ever encountered," according to the National Institute on Aging's deputy director, Gene Cohen. Before 1980 many Americans had never heard of Alzheimer's disease, described by some as "a living death," or "the long goodbye." Although many families watched their loved ones succumb to the disease, it did not become generally familiar to the public until the news broke that film star Rita Hayworth suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
The Long Good-Bye.
Senility was long seen as an inevitable consequence of getting old. But it is not an inescapable aspect of old age; there are many reversible...
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At the Heart of the Matter.
We think of our hearts as the center of our beings—the source of our deepest feelings. A lost love results in a "broken heart," and disappointments give us "heavy hearts." But to doctors and scientists, the heart is an extraordinary muscle that beats about 40 million times a year to pump our life-giving blood through some 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of blood vessels in every part of our bodies. Heart disease was the nation's number one killer in the 1980s. Surgery could repair some damaged hearts, and in 1967 a South African heart specialist, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, transplanted the world's first human heart from one patient to another. Thousands of human heart transplants followed his historic achievement. But one person has to die for a human heart to be available for another person.
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"Baby Fae" and the Baboon Heart
A Daring Surgical Procedure.
On 15 November 1984 at Loma Linda University Medical Center in southern California, a tiny baby girl died twenty days after she had heart surgery. The hopes of many died with her. For "Baby Fae," as she had come to be known, died with the heart of a baboon pumping blood through her body. The baboon heart experiment offered hope that animal organs could be used in ailing infants for whom transplant organs were difficult to obtain. Baby Fae was born with a fatal congenital deformity known as hypoplastic left heart, which left the entire left side of her heart useless. A successful transplant from a baboon promised a new life for Baby Fae and a revolution in pediatric heart surgery.
Dr. Leonard Bailey, chief of pediatric heart surgery at Loma Linda, had experimented with interspecies transplants for seven years, grafting lamb hearts into baby goats. Many of the goats lived as long as 165 days. Bailey hoped his work could ultimately be used for humans,...
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The Case of "Baby M" and the New Reproductive Technologies
Gifts of Life.
By the 1980s parents who wanted children but were unable to conceive had a bewildering variety of new procreative possibilities available to them. There was in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the results of which are popularly known as "test-tube babies." Scientists retrieved an egg (ovum) from the mother and mixed it with the father's sperm in a glass container called a petri dish so that the ovum could be fertilized. Once the zygote was created, a doctor was able to place it in the woman's uterus to develop, as in a normal pregnancy. In July 1978 the world's first "test-tube baby/' Louise Brown, was born in Great Britain. With in-vitro fertilization, excess embryos could even be frozen for later pregnancies. In the GIFT procedure (gamete intrafallopian transfer) zygotes were created when prepared sperm and three to four harvested ova were injected a short distance into the end of the woman's fallopian tube rather than united in a petri dish. Surrogate motherhood—bearing a child for another woman, often for payment—also evolved, using technologies related to IVF. Instead of a child having two parents, a mother and a father, there could be as many as five different "parents": two genetic parents who contributed sperm and ova for in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination; the birth mother who accepted the transferred zygote, gestated the fetus, and gave birth; and the...
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The "Disease of Abundance."
When Karen Carpenter, a member of the popular singing duo The Carpenters, read a review that called her "chubby," she began an eight-year obsession with her weight. By 1983, when she died from heart failure from emetine poisoning brought on by taking ipecac to induce vomiting, anorexia and bulimia had become household words. American society was obsessed with dieting, and these puzzling and frustrating disorders were extreme examples of the national obsession with weight and appearance.
Anorexia was a form of extreme self-starvation and distortion of body image. Patients refused food until they reached a point of severe emaciation or even death. Even though looking in a mirror should tell them that they were too thin, they persisted in seeing themselves as too fat and were proud of their control over food. The term anorexia which means "lack of appetite,"
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A Powerful and Awesome Skill.
In 1982 scientists took the gene that produces human insulin and inserted it into E. coli, a microorganism that lives in intestines. Genetic engineering, "the most powerful and awesome skill acquired by man since the splitting of the atom," had harnessed the hereditary mechanisms of bacteria. Genetic engineers manipulated bacterial genes in an effort to produce new medicines and cures for human diseases. These bacterial microorganisms became capable of manufacturing human insulin for diabetics, human growth hormone for dwarfism, and the antiviral-anticancer drug interferon. Also known as "gene splicing" and "recombinant DNA," genetic engineering showed promise for producing important new vaccines and even safer older vaccines. There were hopes that the quality of life could be improved by manipulating human genes once the complete set of genetic instructions on human DNA (called the human genome) was mapped.
Recombinant DN A and Medicine.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the blueprint for life in all organisms. Its sequences of paired chemical bases are the hereditary information needed to produce proteins, the building blocks for all life. These proteins are large molecules, so they could not be artificially synthesized in the way the sulfa drugs or vitamins were. Genetic engineering began in the 1970s with...
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The High Cost of Good Health
Business. During the 1980s health care in the United States was big business and was marked by enormous costs. From 1980 through 1989 national health-care expenditures rose 142 percent. In 1989 the nation spent $604.3 billion on health costs compared to $250.1 billion in 1980, $74.7 billion in 1970, and $26.9 billion in 1960. Some expenses rose faster than others, but they all rose.
Costs. The average cost of a hospital room increased more than 99 percent from 1980 to 1988, out-pacing inflation. The average daily charge for a semiprivate room was $127 a day in 1980, $215 in 1985, and $253 in 1988. But the average cost to the hospital was more than the charge to the patient—$250 a day in 1980 and $501 in 1985. The most expensive state if one needed hospitalization was California at $281 a day. Mississippi cost the least at $114 a day. To cut hospital costs, many insurance companies began to insist that more surgeries be done on an outpatient basis. Previously, patients entered a hospital on the day before their surgery for tests, had surgery the following day, and then stayed for several days afterward. Now patients needing certain surgeries could find themselves visiting the hospital for tests, going home again, coming in for surgery, and then leaving on the same day without being admitted to the hospital. Outpatient...
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From Science Fiction to Scientific Reality.
In the nineteenth century H. G. Wells, in his War of the Worlds (1898), wrote of Martians invading with weapons that fired deadly light beams. In the 1930s comic-book hero Buck Rogers used a ray gun. In the 1980s laser therapy came into use for a wide variety of medical problems. Lasers repaired detached retinas in the eye, vaporized abnormal growths and tumors, halted internal bleeding, and erased port-wine birthmarks without scarring.
How It Works.
Since the laser's invention in 1960, many different types were created—gas, solid-state, diode, and others. Basically, a laser is a glass rod or tube filled with a gas. When it is stimulated with energy, electrons in the gas are excited into higher energy states. These high-energy electrons are unstable and must return to a lower energy level, but as they lose their energy, it is released as light. The light is amplified by bouncing it between mirrors, and when it emerges the laser beam is a thin line of pure color that shines with tremendous energy. Each laser type shines at a different wavelength. Some pulse on and off; some operate continuously. These differences provide great versatility for use in medical technology.
Lasers in Eye Surgery.
One of the earliest applications was in...
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The Changing Face of Medicine.
Americans in the 1980s were increasingly confronting the relatively new concept of "managed care." The interests of physicians, especially doctors' interests in controlling their own work and setting their own prices, originally shaped medicine in the United States. Traditionally, patients paid their doctors directly on a fee-for-service basis rather than by salary or capitation (that is, per patient per year). Until fairly recently, physicians were one of the few occupational groups able to resist being drawn into industrial and bureaucratic organizations as were other self-employed professionals. Rising health-care costs and the realization that health care was big business forced changes. Unprecedented competition in the health-care industry resulted in major shifts in power in the 1980s as hospitals, physicians, the federal government, and insurers fought for their share of medical business. Concerns with the astounding cost of health care resulted in many new cost-containment measures. Provider-practice patterns moved customers away from traditional sources of care, especially the traditional fee-for-service payment system. Insurance companies became more reluctant to pay automatically for medical care on demand, and economy measures increasingly affected both patients and physicians.
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Medicine, the Government, and "Baby Doe"
Birth Defects and Decisions about Life.
In 1982 an extremely sick baby was born in Bloomington, Indiana. The infant, who came to be known as "Baby Doe," suffered from Down's syndrome and had a surgically correctable abnormality of the throat and esophagus that prevented him from taking food or drink by mouth. It was not certain whether the child suffered the heart defect that occurs in 40 percent of babies with Down's syndrome. With the encouragement of their obstetrician, the parents refused the surgery. Baby Doe died six days later as legal appeals were being filed for treatment against the wishes of his parents. After his death, the government became officially involved in the controversy. When President Reagan learned about the death of the infant, he instructed the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary to make certain that such a situation could never happen again. HHS passed regulations that were successively challenged in the courts. From Baby Doe's unfortunate situation came a bitter controversy over the question of the government's right or obligation to interfere in a matter affecting a newborn child and overturn the wishes of the parents.
Who Makes the Decisions?
Baby Doe's case had multiple sides to every issue: What should the treatment be? Who should make decisions about the treatment? How should these decisions be...
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With their chalky consistency, pills are difficult for some people to swallow. Traditional over-the-counter pain relievers in a round shape often seem to stick in the throat and sometimes make taking
The incident led to a rash of copycat poisonings of other food and drug products, including Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with strychnine in California, mouthwash tainted with hydrochloric acid in Florida, and cold medicines, allergy remedies, and appetite suppressants spiked with rat poison. In response, the Food and Drug Administration mandated...
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When the carpenter, electrician, and plumber finally packed up their tools and left Joan in her new kitchen, she breathed a sigh of relief. After two months of making do with the microwave oven on the dining-room table and the camp stove on the porch, she was ready to do some real cooking. But this was not to be. As soon as she set foot in the new kitchen, she began to sneeze. An allergy sufferer, Joan recognized the sneezing and watering eyes, but the headaches, dizziness, and sore throat were something new. She was reacting to formaldehyde, a chemical preservative used in many building materials such as adhesives, furnishings, and particleboard. After six weeks of open windows admitting the chilly autumn air, the chemical had "gassed off" and the family could use their new kitchen. Joan was lucky, but others were not. Formaldehyde may have the potential to "sensitize" persons. It might be one of a handful of chemicals that can be a forerunner to "chemical sensitivities" and even cancer. In the early 1980s a new and controversial branch of medicine began to center on the links between health and environmental factors. Pollution-related health hazards were problems for decades, but the 1980s saw a growing concern about air pollution inside the home or workplace.
Indoor Air Pollution.
The formaldehyde used in...
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Toxic Shock and Product Safety
A Rare Illness on the Increase.
"It even absorbs the worry," proclaimed Procter & Gamble when it first distributed its tampon products. But decades later in 1980, Procter & Gamble had plenty of worries. After 344 cases of a rare and baffling illness were reported in 1980, the Centers for Disease Control linked women's use of tampons to an outbreak of a rare, sometimes fatal, toxic shock syndrome. One study of a group of sufferers discovered that 71 percent of them had used Procter & Gamble's Rely tampons. Procter & Gamble ordered a recall of its tampons and soon found itself in court.
Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a severe, systemic illness associated with infection by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. The CDC's findings indicated it occurred most commonly in menstruating women who used tampons—about 75 percent of TSS victims—although it also occurred in children, men, and nonmenstruating women. Three to 5 percent of the cases were fatal. The syndrome had a sudden onset with high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a sunburn-like red rash that could occur anywhere on the body. Within a day or two, victims could suffer a drop in blood pressure, ranging from mild symptoms of dizziness to fatal shock. Treatment included intensive antibiotic therapy.
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Devries, William Castle 1943-
Medical History and National Headlines.
Dr. William DeVries and his surgical team at the University of Utah Medical Center made medical history and national headlines on 2 December 1982, when they replaced the diseased heart of Barney Clark with the Jarvik-7, the first permanent artificial heart ever used for a human patient. DeVries was the only surgeon authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implant an artificial heart into a human.
A Fateful Lecture.
William DeVries was the son of a physician and a nurse. His widowed mother remarried and brought him up in Ogden, Utah. The young DeVries had an early mechanical bent and excelled in sports and his studies. During his first year in medical school at the University of Utah College of Medicine, he attended a lecture by Dutch-born Dr. Willem Kolff, a pioneer of biomedical engineering. Drawn to Kolff's work, DeVries asked him for a position on his research team. When DeVries introduced himself, Kolff replied, "that's a good Dutch name. You're hired!" In his work for Kolff, DeVries performed experimental surgery on the first animal recipients of the artificial heart. DeVries left Utah to do his internship and residency in cardiovascular surgery at Duke University, but returned to Kolff ?s team in 1979....
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Gallo, Robert C. 1937-
The First Human Retro virus.
In May 1984 Dr. Robert C. Gallons research team at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) claimed to have identified the Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV-III) as the cause of AIDS. Earlier, in the fall of 1981, Kaposi's sarcoma, the strange disease striking the homosexual community, began to interest the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), located in Bethesda, Maryland. Gallo, a lively and imaginative young researcher at NCI, previously identified the first human retrovirus in 1978-1979. It was the first time a cancer-causing virus was found in humans. For his pioneering discovery of how these RNA tumor viruses cause cancer, Gallo was awarded the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, often called "America's Nobel Prize," in 1982. Retroviruses were important to the NCI because they can cause severe diseases such as cancer. The rare form of cancer striking the gay community was thought by many scientists possibly to have a viral cause. When Kaposi's sarcoma was identified as a symptom of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Robert Gallo and his colleagues thought the culprit was a retrovirus. By 1984 they had it identified.
A Family Tragedy Leads to a Medical Career.
When Robert Gallo was a thirteen-year-old in Waterbury,...
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Gilligan, Carol 1936-
Are Women and Men Different?
In 1982 Harvard University psychologist Carol Gilligan published her book In a Different Voice and startled a country trying to understand male and female differences. In the early 1980s the prevailing approach to sex differences was to ignore them. Differences implied inequality. But Gilligan's ten years of research convinced her that men and women really were different. They differed in the way they thought, in their sense of values and morality, and in the way they connected with other people. According to Carol Gilligan, "The spirit in which I wrote the book was to raise questions." Her research questioned traditional psychological concepts of human development that had always been drawn on a male model.
Putting Girls and Women on the Map.
Carol Gilligan was an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University where she taught adolescent and moral development. Forty-five years old at the time of the publication of her research, she was the wife of a psychiatrist and the mother of three sons. She...
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Johnson, G. Timothy 1936-
Medicine and the Media.
By the 1980s Americans were much more aware of their role as medical consumers. The growing health-industry conglomerates and the uncertainties of medical practice during the 1970s led to the breakdown of traditional barriers between the paternalistic doctor and the passive, unquestioning patient. In the past the physician controlled information and gave it out to his patient as he thought appropriate. But in the 1980s Americans demanded more direct information about medicine. The media responded with such television entertainment offerings as St. Elsewhere, which provided viewers with portraits of physicians, diseases, and the "medical crisis of the week." Many networks, aware that health information was a high priority with their viewers, also looked for charismatic and articulate medical sources. One of these was the ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson.
Communicating Medical Information.
Tim Johnson was born and grew up in Illinois where he was first attracted to the ministry and graduated with honors at Chicago's North Park Seminary. After a stint as a college admissions officer, Johnson applied to medical school, graduating summa cum laude from Albany Medical College in New York. He came to Massachusetts to practice medicine in the early 1970s, and as sometimes happens with...
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Koop, Charles Everett 1916-
The Nation's Family Doctor.
C. Everett Koop always knew he would grow up to be a surgeon. As a teenager in Brooklyn, he pretended to be a medical student so he could sneak into hospitals and watch operations. Koop was a renowned pediatric surgeon, known for his successes in separating Siamese twins and in surgical procedures for dealing with formerly fatal birth defects. He played a major role in stopping the 1950s practice of X-raying children's feet in shoe stores, which exposed children to harmful radiation. In the fall of 1981 he became President Reagan's surgeon general of the United States, the nation's leading spokesman on public-health issues. As a passionate evangelical Christian and foe of abortion, he became during his confirmation hearings the target of those who felt his conservative perspective made him the wrong man for the post. But by the time he resigned his post in July 1989, Dr. C. Everett Koop stood out as a model of integrity and courage in public office. He confounded everyone's...
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Love, Susan M. 1948-
A Major Killer.
"More women have died of breast cancer than people died in the Vietnam war," according to Dr. Susan M. Love. "Every four minutes a woman is diagnosed with it, and every twelve minutes a woman dies of it." Trained in Boston to be a general surgeon, Love became one of the most visible experts in the nation on breast cancer, a disease that affected one in ten American women and claimed 42,000 lives in 1988. Television viewers saw her on the PBS science program NOVA and on an ABC Nightline program about breast cancer. Breast cancer was a disease greatly feared by American women, and with her down-to-earth and forthright manner, Love provided a reassuring voice. She became famous for educating American women about their choices for cancer treatment as well as for her skill in performing surgery. A controversial figure in her field, Love was also well known for her views that were contrary to what many doctors advocated for treating breast cancer.
A Fascination with Science and Religion.
The oldest of five children, Susan Love grew up in Puerto Rico and Mexico and attended Catholic schools run by the Sisters of Notre Dame. One of her junior-high schoolteachers became her mentor in her biology class and began her involvement in science. During her high-school years in Mexico City,...
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Lown, Bernard 1921-
INTERNATIONAL PHYSICIANS FOR THE
PREVENTION OF NUCLEAR WAR
Nobel Peace Prize Winners.
The two cardiologists, Bernard Lown and Yevgeny Chazov, saw it as a straightforward procedure: clog the arteries of support for nuclear weaponry until the heart of the atomic arms race stopped beating. Although the operation was not yet fully completed, in 1985 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a worldwide federation of medical doctors and health professionals founded in 1980. Its founders and copresidents, Lown, a professor of cardiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, and Chazov, director general of the Cardiology Research Center in Moscow, first bumped into each other in an elevator in New Delhi in 1960. Soon they began corresponding about medical matters and visited each other's medical facilities. In 1961 Lown became interested in the medical aspects of nuclear war and invited eight doctors to his home after he heard a speech about the nuclear arms race and the dangers of atomic conflict given by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Philip Noel-Baker. Shortly afterward, he cofounded Physicians for Social Responsibility and served as its first president. Physicians for Social Responsibility produced articles, talks, and forums on the medical effects of nuclear war. It later became one...
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Rosenberg, Steven A. 1940
A Headline-Making Discovery.
Science has two principal stages of discovery. First is the dramatic, headline-making, often controversial revelation of an important new or preliminary discovery, In 1985 National Cancer Institute (NCI) surgeon Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg stirred national attention when he reported that eleven of twenty-five cancer patients improved dramatically after treatments involving interleukin-2 (IL-2), a genetically engineered hormone. This "adoptive immunotherapy" activated the body's natural immune system of white blood cells to fight cancerous tumors. The second stage of scientific discovery comes after more extensive clinical testing justifies the earlier excitement.
A Cancer Breakthrough?
In 1985 cancer killed 462,000 Americans. The American public took its first notice of Rosenberg in July 1985 when the NCI specialist announced, "The President has cancer." As a member of the team that operated on President Reagan's cancerous colon, Rosenberg explained the procedure to the public and won high marks for his cool, careful explanations. In early December Rosenberg emerged with news of an exciting approach to cancer treatment, and the switch-boards at the NCI nearly melted from phone calls as dying patients around the country deluged their physicians and the NCI with demands for...
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Westheimer, (Karola) Ruth 1928-
Known to her public simply as "Dr. Ruth," the New York psychologist, broad-caster, and writer Dr. Ruth Westheimer became known for giving out sexual advice "like good hot chicken soup" to Americans in the 1980s. Orphaned by the Third Reich when her German-Jewish family perished after sending her to safety in Switzerland, she immigrated to Palestine where she became a fervent Zionist and member of the Haganah, the Jewish underground movement. The tiny woman, only four feet seven inches tall, briefly married a young Israeli soldier, and the couple moved to Paris where she earned a degree in psychology from the Sorbonne. In 1956 Dr. Ruth moved to New York with her second husband. After this marriage ended, she supported herself and her young daughter by working as a maid while she learned English and earned a master's degree at the New School for Social Research. After meeting her third husband on a ski trip to the Catskills, she earned her doctorate in education at Columbia University.
Dr. Ruth learned about sex early when she sneaked into her father's library to read his hidden marriage manual. At Columbia she studied family counseling and sex counseling, and her big break came in 1977 when she gave a lecture to a group of New York broadcasters about the need for more...
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White, Ryan 1971-1990
A Terrible Diagnosis.
For most sufferers, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence. Most AIDS patients died within two years of their diagnosis. Some patients who tested positive for HIV were able to live for years without symptoms of active AIDS, but they had to live with the likelihood of an early death as well as disabling medical symptoms. Some people had mild symptoms which physicians called ARC, or AIDS-related complex. People with many symptoms had "full-blown AIDS," which required a host of often painful treatments. Compounding the psychological and medical costs of the illness was social rejection and prejudice. Victims had to fear their neighbors, friends, and even their families because of the dread associated with the disease. The initial victims of the epidemic were homosexual men and intravenous drug users. In the beginning of the epidemic, scientists thought only gay men got AIDS, and many Americans came to think of it as "the gay disease." Victims of AIDS often suffered extreme prejudice from homophobes, and many in the public considered AIDS just punishment for what they considered to be deviant sexual behavior. In the background were...
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People in the News
On 21 March 1981 Drs. Benjamin Aaron and Joseph Giordano of the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., performed two hours of surgery on President Ronald Reagan to remove a bullet from his left lung after he was shot in the chest in an assassination attempt.
On 20 September 1984 former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was revealed to be suffering from Parkinson's syndrome, renewing the debate over the safety of boxing because doctors theorized that repeated blows to the head could damage brain cells, bringing on Parkinson's syndrome.
On 5 January 1986 Donna Ashland, a fourteen-year-old California girl who suffered from cardiomyopathy, a degeneration of the heart muscle, received a heart transplant from her fifteen-year-old boyfriend, Felipe Garcia. Garcia, who died after a blood vessel burst in his brain, had earlier told his mother of his premonition of his impending death and his wish for his girlfriend to receive his heart.
Education Secretary William Bennett released a handbook for teachers and parents on 6 October 1987, urging them to promote abstinence as the best way for young people to avoid AIDS.
The Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled on 3 June 1982 that Dr. Anthony P. Borelli must bear the child-rearing costs for the child of a woman...
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NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN MEDICINE OR PHYSIOLOGY
Baruj Benacerraf (United States, born in Venezuela), George Snell (United States), and Jean Dausset (France) for their studies of antigens, the protein-carbohydrate complexes found on every cell membrane of the body, leading to the development of rules for the transplantability of human organs, explanations of the body's immunology system, and development of transplant immunology.
David H. Hubel (Canadian-born American) and Torsten Wiesel (Sweden) for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system; and Roger W. Sperry (United States) for his discovery concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain,
Sune Bergstrom (Sweden), Bengt Samuelsson (Sweden), and John R. Vane (Great Britain) for their discoveries concerning prostaglandin and related biologically active substances.
Barbara McClintock (United States) for her discovery of transposable genetic systems.
Niels K. Jerne, (Britain and Denmark), Georges Kdhler, (Germany), and Cesar Milstein (Argentina) for their discovery and development of principles for production of monoclonal antibodies by the hybridoma...
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Dr. Howard B. Andervont, 83, virologist and cancer researcher who helped establish the National Cancer Institute in the 1930s, in Sarasota, Florida, 11 March 1981.
Dr. Gould Arthur Andrews, 62, pioneer in the use of nuclear medicine, who introduced the use of radioisotopes in cancer therapy, in Royal Oak, Michigan, 1 July 1980.
Dr. James Z. Appel, 74, surgeon and general practitioner who served as president of the American Medical Association from 1965 to 1966 and helped coordinate the structuring of Medicare, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 31 August 1981.
Dr. Silvano Arieti, 67, Italian-born psychoanalyst, author, and teacher who was a specialist in schizophrenia; winner of a National Book Award in 1975 for his book Interpretation of Schizophrenia; he was the editor in chief of the reference text American Handbook of Psychiatry, in New York City, 7 August 1981.
Dr. Franklin L. Ashley, 69, noted plastic surgeon who treated Hollywood celebrities and numerous deformed African and Vietnamese children, in Saint Petersburg, Florida, 14 February 1985.
Frederik Barry Bang, 64, Johns Hopkins University biologist and teacher known for his research on infectious and parasitic diseases, in New York City, 3 October 1981.
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Drew Altman, AIDS in the Mind of America (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1986);
Altman, Richard Greene, and Harvey M. Sapolsky, Health Planning and Regulation: The Decision-Making Process (Washington, D.C.: AUPHA, 1981);
L. B. Andrews, New Conceptions: A Consumer's Guide to the Newest Infertility Treatments (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984);
L. Bachrach, ed., New Directions for Mental Health Services: Deinstitutionalization (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1983);
Ross J. Baldessarin, Chemotherapy in Psychiatry: Principles and Practice, revised edition (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985);
David Baltimore and S. Wolf, eds., Confronting AIDS: Directions for Public Health, Health Care and Research (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1986);
Yvonne Baskin, The Gene Doctors (New York: Morrow, 1984);
William Bennett and Joel Gurin, The Dieters Dilemma (New York: Basic Books, 1982);
Richard A. Berk, ed., The Social Impact of AIDS in the USA (Cambridge, Mass.: Abt, 1988);
Henry S. Berman and Louisa Rose, Choosing the Right Health Plan (Mount Vernon, N.Y.: Consumer Reports Books, 1990);
D. Black, The Plague...
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Important Events in Medicine and Health, 1980–1989
- On January 3, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the National Cancer Institute to do the first clinical study of the effects of the controversial and allegedly ineffective drug, Laetrile, on humans.
- On January 8, Virginia authorities approve the opening of the first "test-tube baby" clinic in the United States.
- On January 10, University of California Medical Center at San Francisco researchers devise a fetal test to predict the skin disease epidermolytic hyperkeratosis in an unborn child.
- On January 14, the U.S. Surgeon General reports the first signs of an epidemic of smoking-related diseases among women.
- On January 15, a federal judge rules the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal financing of abortions under Medicaid, unconstitutional.
- On January 16, genetically-engineered bacteria produce human interferon, a disease-fighting protein effective against some viral diseases and cancers.
- On January 25, studies report an increased risk of miscarriage or premature births in daughters of women who took the steroid DES (diethylstilbestrol) when they were pregnant.
- On January 31, the drug sulfinpyrazone is reported to reduce the incidence of sudden death among heart attack victims in the first seven months after a coronary...
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