(And family is complicated.) What happens when pure science hits impure reality ?
Thursday, September 9, 2010
1941-1950: Friedberg revises SBE deathwatch
In 1950 Dr Charles Friedberg told the readers of JAMA, one of the world's leading medical journals for frontline doctors, not to forget that SBE was now the easiest of the common heart diseases to cure.
Friedberg had quite literally wrote the book on SBE, back in 1941.
The, ahem, old book on SBE.
In that 1941 book, Friedberg and chief co-author Emanuel Libman had carefully surveyed 1200 cases of SBE in detail and said 'no cures' - at least no cures by the efforts of doctors.
However three percent might expect a spontaneous cure.
Until the next and the next attack - for SBE was a repeater disease and so really inevitably fatal - over the short medium term period.
Another researcher at the time was even less hopeful - finding out of 249 of his SBE patients, maybe one had a temporary cure.
But now in 1950,Friedberg's 'invariable fatal SBE' had become Friedberg's 'the most curable common heart disease' !
The reason for this amazing turn about, Dr Martin Henry Dawson, had died a little earlier, back in April 1945.
But these amazing 1950 conclusions were due to his pioneering 1940-1945 efforts to prove up penicillin as an anti-biofilmic agent , able to penetrate SBE vegetations and kill the bacteria without killing the patient.
It was a mission carried on and brought to a spectacular conclusion by his assistant Thomas H Hunter, after the war.
DOCTOR MOM now had one Sword of Damocles removed from over her head --- thanks to a doctor from Columbia University.
Just in time too.
Because another doctor from Columbia university, Harold Urey, PhD, had just given her a new Sword of Damocles.
During World War II, in one part of Columbia,
the former Lt Dawson,(winner of the Military Cross with Citation),was busy(illegally) curing "4F" SBE patients.
Meanwhile, in another part of Columbia, Urey-The-Pacifist, with his crew of war-exempt healthy, young "1A" scientists, was busy inventing the Cold War's most fearsome weapon: the gaseous diffusion process for the extraction of uranium for the mass production of nuclear weapons.
As a result, 1950s kids, of which I was one, were the healthiest and the most scared generation of kids ever raised.
Thank you, Columbia.....
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