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A bit of “irrational exuberance” about medical breakthroughs from the 1930’s

There are lots of medical discoveries today that are breathlessly hyped far beyond what their actual benefits are likely to be. This, apparently, is not a new phenomenon, as this story shows.

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(Click on the pictures above for larger images of all four pages of the article, which appeared in 1939.)

On the other hand, given the advances in medical care that have come about because of X-rays, such as radiographs, CT scans, nuclear medicine scans, and the use of radiation to treat cancer, this story is actually not exaggerating all that much. Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be a clue back then about the downside of this technology, you know, little things like the fact that too much exposure to X-rays can cause cancer.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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