Scientists experiment on themselves


There was a time when scientists considered it normal to experiment with themselves, saying that no one was better than to describe the effect of a drug, or the progression of disease.

Scientists take themselves to experiment

1. Sir Henry Head
2. Friedrich Sertürner
3. Santorio Santorio
4. Albert Hofmann
5. Jan Purkinje
6. Hermann Ebbinghaus
7. Karl Landsteiner
8. Jack Goldstein
9. George Stratton
10. Elsie Widdowson
11. Daniel Alcides Carrión (1857-1885)
12. Barry Marshall (1951)
13. August Bier (1861-1949)

1. Sir Henry Head
Sir Henry Head, a British neurologist in the 19th century, studied the process of restoring a patient's feelings after a peripheral nerve injury. But because the patient does not have specialized knowledge, nor is it well-trained, it is not possible to properly explain this phenomenon. This led Head to a rather bold decision, cutting his nerves to experiment.

With the help of another doctor, Head severed some peripheral nerves in his left arm and hand. Three months later, Head gradually recovered the ability to feel pain in his arm. He and his partner continued the testing and observation experiments for the next four years. They have discovered many new knowledge about human cognitive activities.

Thanks to Head's preliminary research, we have a much better understanding of how the human brain possesses different sensations and touches.

2. Friedrich Sertürner

One of the "crazy" scientists who experimented with themselves was notably Friedrich Wilhelm Sertürner, who isolated the first alkaloid from opium, through a 52-step process. After several experiments with dogs and mice, Sertürner called the newly-named alkaloid "morphine," based on the god of dreams in Greek mythology, Morpheus. put the subject to sleep, even forever.

Confident with the results of the live animal experiment, he decided to test it on humans. Sertürner, along with three other friends, each ate about 30 mg of pure morphine, after another 30 minutes of eating another dose, and another dose after 15 minutes. In total, they ate 90 mg in nearly 1 hour, 10 times more than today's dosage regulations.

The results showed that in the first dose, he and his friends reached a state of "joy and head spinning", but after the second dose there were signs of drowsiness and fatigue, and the third dose worsened when weeding. gill and deep sleep, eventually nausea and headache upon waking up. And of course, his friends will never dare to participate in any of his experiments again.

Thanks to this crazy experiment, Sertürner found the right dose to use morphine as a painkiller, which is still used today.

3. Santorio Santorio

Living in Renaissance Padua, Italya, Santorio is interested in many fields, including physiology. He doubts whether what we eat in the form of food and water is equal to the amount we "expel" in the form of feces and urine. To verify this, Santorio decided to spend 30 years to weigh his weight, as well as everything he ate and "discharged", then review and calculate the difference.

He invented a chair especially handy for weighing body weight, food and waste. He spends most of his time working, eating, cleaning, sleeping and measuring disparities.

He finally concluded that the amount we ingest was greater than the amount excreted, with an average of 3.5 kg excretion every 1.3 kg excreted. To explain this phenomenon, he proposed the theory of "emotionless sweat", saying that we always consume energy continuously through the skin.

Although of little scientific value, Santorio's research is a fundamental contributor to metabolic research. The special chair he invented also became famous later.

4. Albert Hofmann

In 1943, Hofmann worked at Sandoz, his main job was to research and manufacture drugs. While conducting the isolation of a fungus in rice, he began to feel a strange sensation. He claimed that he was exposed to a substance related to LSD-25. He ate about 250 micrograms of this substance. Then he felt weird and left the lab, got on his bike and went home. Upon returning home, Hofmann recorded the effects of the medicine he had experimented on his own that day, "I saw beautiful images, along with extraordinary shapes, intense kaleidoscopic colors." .

The drug Hofmann took that day was LSD, one of the most powerful hallucinogens. Although LSD was originally used in psychotherapy and by the CIA to make brainwashing drugs, the substance has been banned since 1967.

5. Jan Purkinje

Jan Purkinje, a Czech monk who entered the field of pharmacology in 1819. This scientist always had a disgruntled attitude towards the way the medication was given by the pharmacists of the time. Therefore, he proceeded to find the right dosage by eating the drug himself, while paying attention to the effect of the drug on the mental and physical.

Purkinje tried a variety of medicinal plants, such as those of the genus Mao Dianhai (digitalis), a plant that reduces heart rate and causes blurred vision. To study the effects of this plant's blurred vision, he took the initiative to overdose and record the problems he suffered and experienced.

Many years later, Purkinje experimented on himself with various drugs. These experiments help people gain more knowledge about the appropriate dosages and interactions of many drugs.

6. Hermann Ebbinghaus

From 1879 to 1880, the German psychologist, Ebbinghaus conducted the experiment with his memory, by inventing 2,300 meaningless syllables, each syllable consisting of three consonant letters - vowels - consonant sounds, and he memorized them all by himself.

He concluded that the greater the amount of information, the more time it took to learn; Once the information has been learned and forgotten, it takes less time to relearn than the original learning, and learning is more effective when the brain has time to absorb the information.

Ebbinghaus has provided a lot of data and methodology in the study of the human mind that is still valid today.

Australian physician Landsteiner uses his own blood to verify the hypothesis that different people have different types of blood.

Landsteiner thinks that people have different types of antibodies in their blood. Some antibodies attack blood cells that contain different types of antibodies. When an antibody attacks another type, the blood transfusion process is interrupted, often leading to death. In 1901, Landsteiner discovered four types of blood using experiments on his blood: A, B, O and AB.

Through his own experiments, Landsteiner discovered the compatibility principle of blood types, a finding that helped blood transfusions and organ donation and saved many lives.

8. Jack Goldstein


In 1981, following the experiment of Karl Landsteiner, another self-testing physician named Jack Goldstein extended his research into the field of blood.

Goldstein discovered an enzyme in coffee that can change blood type B to be harmless. This chemical reaction converts blood type B to make it function similar to blood type O, thus expanding B's ability to adapt to other blood types.

Goldstein has an O blood type. He underwent a blood transfusion using an enzyme-treated type B blood group, which turned into an O blood type. After going through this blood transfusion process and did not cause reactions No harmful effects, Goldstein has proven that this technique really works.

9. George Stratton

To test the theory of the adaptation of human cognition, Stratton put on a pair of inverted glasses, causing the whole world in his eyes to be completely reversed. He put on a special lens on his right eye and covered his left eye, then began experimenting on himself for 8 consecutive days, with an extraordinary vision.

The first day he moved was difficult and the space reversed made him feel unreal. But the second day, only the body position was different. By the seventh day, everything became normal and he could move freely. His experiments show that humans can build the connection between vision, skin contact by learning, and adapting in a given time period.

10. Elsie Widdowson

During World War II, the British government suffered from food shortages. Elsie Widdowson, a nutrition researcher with 60 years of experience, is determined to find the right diet for the situation at the time.

Widdowson and his longtime partner, McCance, conducted experiments on themselves, using a very poor diet of bread, cabbage, and potatoes for several months. Their aim is to find a suitable diet during the war with less meat, milk and calcium. They demonstrate that with a harsh diet, people can still maintain good health if sufficient calcium supplements.

Their work began in 1940, when calcium was added to bread. They also assumed responsibility for handling wartime rations of Britain during World War II.

Today, self-experimentation is limited in the field of science because of its dangerous and unclear nature. But over the centuries, scientists have ventured to bring people a vast, important source of knowledge, and this is the foundation for today's modern science to flourish.

11. Daniel Alcides Carrión (1857-1885)

Some daring researchers have paid the most expensive journey in the pursuit of knowledge about human health and disease. Daniel Carrión is one of them.

While studying at Mayor de San Marcos University in Lima, Peru, the medical student Carrión heard about an outbreak of a mysterious fever in the city of La Oroya. Railway workers there were severely anemic - a condition after suffering "Oroya fever".

Few know the cause of this situation and how it spreads. But Carrión has a theory: There may be a link between acute symptoms of Oroya fever and warts dermatosis. And he came up with the idea to test this theory: inject himself with infected wart tissue and see if he has a fever.

That was what he did.

In August 1885, he took a tissue from a 14-year-old patient and asked a colleague to inject it into both arms. Just over a month later, Carrión developed serious symptoms, such as fever, chills and extreme fatigue. By the end of September 1885, he died of a fever.

But Carrión's desire to learn about this disease spurred further studies in the following century, and leading scientists successfully identified the bacteria that caused the fever and sought treatment. His successors named the condition "Carrión's disease" in memory of his contribution.

12. Barry Marshall (1951)

Not all risk experiments end in tragedy.

In 1985, Barry Marshall, a medical specialist at the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia, and his research colleague, J. Robin Warren, were extremely disappointed because their many years of intestinal bacteria research were rejected. revoke.

Their theory is that intestinal bacteria can cause gastrointestinal diseases - here is Helicobacter pylori (HP bacteria). But magazine after magazine rejected their claim, arguing that the evidence from lab samples was inconclusive.

At that time, the medical field did not believe that bacteria could exist in stomach acid. But Marshall certainly discovered something important. So he proved it himself with ... his own stomach.

He drank a solution containing H. pylori, and thought he would have a stomach ulcer in the future. But soon his body showed minor symptoms, like nausea and bad breath. And in less than a week, he also started vomiting.

During an colonoscopy shortly thereafter, it was found that H. pylori filled his stomach with other colonies. Marshall must take antibiotics to prevent infections that cause infections and potentially fatal digestive diseases.

As it turned out, he predicted: Bacteria can actually cause stomach illness.

Marshall's "near-death" experience paid off when he and Warren were later awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for their discovery.

13. August Bier (1861-1949)
While some researchers change the course of medicine to prove a convincing hypothesis, others, like the German surgeon August Bier, do so for the benefit of patients.

In 1898, one of Bier's patients, at the Royal Surgery Hospital - Kiel University, Germany refused to operate an ankle infection, because he had some serious reaction to general anesthesia in previous surgeries.

Therefore, Bier proposed an alternative: injecting cocaine directly into the spinal cord. And it really works. With cocaine in the spine, the patient stayed awake during the procedure without any pain. But a few days later, the patient vomited and suffered terribly.

Determined to improve the situation, Bier perfected the method himself by asking his assistant August Hildebrandt to inject a modified form of this cocaine solution into his spine.

But Hildebrandt ruined the injection when using the wrong size of needle and Bier came up with the idea of ​​trying to inject the solution into Hildebrandt. Satisfactory results. For several hours, Hildebrandt completely felt nothing. Bier has tried this in as "subtle" ways as possible. He pulled out his hair, burned his skin, and even ... squeezed Hildebrandt's testicles.

Although the efforts of Bier and Hildebrandt gave birth to the method of spinal anesthesia by injecting directly into the spine (it is still used today), the health of both became worse a week later. there.

But while Bier was at home and in good health, Hildebrandt - as an assistant, had to handle Bier's work despite being hospitalized. Hildebrandt never fully recovered and then ended working with Bier.

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