Making History

This category contains 16 posts

Making History: Alois Alzheimer, the man who named a dread disease

By Frank Kourt, Staff Writer The very mention of  “Alzheimer’s disease,” can evoke a number of emotions, including terror, since it is a debilitating disease that robs victims of their memories and other cognitive functions. It has long been recognized that with age often comes dementia, but what about when such conditions present themselves at … Continue reading

Albert J. Stunkard, M.D.: Early Pioneer in Obesity Research

If you recognize that obesity often has far more to do with genetics than lack of willpower, that obese people are no more or less neurotic that the rest of the population, and that most diet programs are statistically doomed to failure, you may owe these perceptions to the work of Dr. Albert J. Stunkard, … Continue reading

Carl Gustav Jung: Father of Analytical Psychology

In the annals of psychiatry there are several schools of thought. Sigmund Freud based many of his theories of human behavior on sex, while one-time Freud colleague, Carl Jung, postulated that factors such as spirituality are also influential in human behavior. Born in 1875 in Switzerland to Emilie and Paul Achilles Jung, Carl Jung grew … Continue reading

Making History: James A. Thomson: Pioneer of Stem Cell Research

The field of stem cell research has been surrounded in controversy, and its early potential has been widely misunderstood by some; nevertheless it is an important field of research in the future of medicine. James A. Thomson, born and raised in Oak Park, Ill., came from a decidedly non-scientific background (his mother was a college … Continue reading

John Haven Emerson: Designer of the improved Iron Lung

John Haven Emerson is not only credited with saving many lives of polio victims during the 1930s, 40s and 50s by improving the iron lung breathing device; he also received 35 patents on various designs of bio-medical devices during his long career. Extraordinarily, Emerson was not a physician. He never graduated from high school. The … Continue reading

Louise Pearce: Pioneer in treating African sleeping sickness

While it is frequently the brilliant surgeon who astounds the world with a new technique, it is often the quiet clinical researcher whose dogged work in perfecting a new treatment who saves the most lives in the long run. Such was Louise Pearce, M.D., whose research led to a treatment that dramatically reduced the mortality … Continue reading

Charles R. Drew: Blood Bank Pioneer

These days, we take blood banks, where blood plasma is routinely stored, pretty much for granted, but it wasn’t until nearly the mid-20th century that blood banks were established, thanks in large part, to the work of Dr. Charles R. Drew, an African-American pioneer in blood research. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1904, the eldest … Continue reading

Milestones in Diabetes Treatment

Research leads to great strides and hope for a cure Diabetes has been around for a long time. It was described in an Egyptian manuscript from c. 1500 BCE as “too great emptying of the urine.” The term “diabetes” was first used in 230 BCE by Appollonius of Memphis. The Indian physicians Sushruta and Charaka … Continue reading

Sir James Young Simpson: Anesthesia Pioneer

  Great medical discoveries are often the result of extensive experimentations with animals, in addition to willing and (hopefully) informed human subjects.   Sir James Young Simpson, a great pioneer in general anesthesia, however, took a more direct approach … experimenting on himself, a tactic that sometimes found him waking up, literally, under the table. … Continue reading

Marcia Angell: First woman editor of New England Journal of Medicine advocates for health care reform

When the topic of health care reform comes up, the name of Marcia Angell, M.D. is almost certain to be mentioned. Born in 1939 in Knoxville, Tenn., Angell, a pathologist, was the first woman editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, a post she held from 1999 to 2000. She first joined the … Continue reading