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Old March 11th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Jack and the Scientific Method


Now these bonafide scientific experiments are truly bizarre, as seen in the excerpts below. Were the Whitechapel Murders nothing more than a similarly bizarre experiment, one involving human lab rats? Not bloody likely, but whoever thought a US President would one day have the middle name of Hussein?

Emboldened by this success, Ffirth graduated to dribbling the vomit into his eyes and smearing assorted other bodily fluids from yellow-fever sufferers over his person - including blood, spit, sweat and urine. He even sat in a "vomit sauna" full of heated regurgitation vapours, which caused him "great pain in [his] head", but left him in rude health. Finally, he took to actually ingesting the vomit - first in pill form, then straight from a patient's mouth. Since he still didn't get ill, he considered the case proven. Presumably others did too, since he was in due course awarded his medical doctorate.

In 1898, German surgeon August Bier invented spinal anaesthesia, which involved a small dose of cocaine being injected into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord. That was a great improvement on existing methods of general anaesthesia, but how effective was it? To find out, Bier decided to be anaesthetised himself. But things didn't go as planned for Bier - or for his hapless assistant, Augustus Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt was supposed to administer the cocaine but, thanks to a mix-up with the equipment, Bier was left with a hole in his neck from which cerebrospinal fluid began to flow. Rather than abandon the effort, however, the two men switched places. Once Hildebrandt had been anaesthetized, Bier stabbed, hammered and burned his assistant, pulled out his pubic hairs and - presumably eager to leave no stone unturned in testing the new method's efficiency - squashed his testicles.

Various researchers have infected themselves with parasites. One such is biologist David Pritchard, who in 2004 allowed fifty hookworm larvae to burrow through his skin. Other members of Pritchard's lab also infected themselves with the hookworms, which can survive for up to a decade but are easy to kill off with drugs. "They itch quite a bit when they go through the skin," said Pritchard, but become really troublesome only when they reached his stomach.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 07:53 PM   #2
Howard Brown
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I hate to be a spoilsport...but it may be a case here, where the information regarding August Bier, is in error.

August Karl Gustav Bier (24 November 1861 - 12 March 1949) was German surgeon and the pioneer of spinal anaesthesia. After professorships in Greifswald and Bonn, Bier became a professor at the Charité in Berlin.
Bier's breakthrough in spinal anaesthesia was made in 1898 when he performed the first planned spinal anaesthetic on a series of 6 patients for lower extremity surgery. Each of them received a spinal dose of cocaine and did well except for having nausea, vomiting and headache afterwards. After this series, Dr. Bier was to receive a spinal anesthetic administered by his assistant, one Dr. Hildebrandt. Unfortunately, although the spinal needle was placed correctly, with spinal fluid flowing freely from it, the syringe was only then discovered to not fit the needle. As a result, Dr Bier gained first-hand knowledge of the unpleasant post-spinal headache. Dr Hildebrandt instead became the recipient of the spinal anaesthetic which was achieved using cocaine. After the injection, Dr Hildebrandt's legs became numb and the two celebrated their success with wine and cigars. The profound analgesia of his legs was demonstrated with repeated kicks to his shins, which however, soon regained their sensation.
In 1908 he pioneered the use of intravenous procaine analgesia. Anesthesiologists still use the term Bier block for intravenous regional anaesthesia, where a local anaesthetic, usually Lidocaine, is injected into a vein in a limb below a tourniquet which is at a high enough pressure to trap the anaesthetic.
Bier's well-known quote is: "Medical scientists are nice people, but you should not let them treat you!"
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