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U.S Army doctors working in the Philippines infect five Filipino prisoners with plague and withhold proper nutrition to create Beriberi in 29 prisoners; four test subjects die (Merritte, et al.; ****burn and St. Clair, eds.).
Under commission from the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Walter Reed goes to Cuba and uses 22 Spanish immigrant workers to prove that yellow fever is contracted through mosquito bites. Doing so, he introduces the practice of using healthy test subjects, and also the concept of a written contract to confirm informed consent of these subjects. While doing this study, Dr. Reed clearly tells the subjects that, though he will do everything he can to help them, they may die as a result of the experiment. He pays them $100 in gold for their participation, plus $100 extra if they contract yellow fever (Berdon, Sharav).
Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors cite this study to justify their own medical experiments (Greger, Sharav).
Dr. Hideyo Noguchi of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research publishes data on injecting an inactive syphilis preparation into the skin of 146 hospital patients and normal children in an attempt to develop a skin test for syphilis. Later, in 1913, several of these children's parents sue Dr. Noguchi for allegedly infecting their children with syphilis ("Reviews and Notes: History of Medicine: Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War").
Medical experimenters "test" 15 children at the children's home St. Vincent's House in Philadelphia with tuberculin, resulting in permanent blindness in some of the children. Though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives records the incident, the researchers are not punished for the experiments ("Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After").
Dr. Joseph Goldberger, under order of the U.S. Public Health Office, produces Pellagra, a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, in 12 Mississippi inmates to try to find a cure for the disease. One test subject later says that he had been through "a thousand hells." In 1935, after millions die from the disease, the director of the U.S Public Health Office would finally admit that officials had known that it was caused by a niacin deficiency for some time, but did nothing about it because it mostly affected poor African-Americans. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors used this study to try to justify their medical experiments on concentration camp inmates (Greger; ****burn and St. Clair, eds.).
In response to the Germans' use of chemical weapons during World War I, President Wilson creates the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) as a branch of the U.S. Army. Twenty-four years later, in 1942, the CWS would begin performing mustard gas and lewisite experiments on over 4,000 members of the armed forces (Global Security, Goliszek).
(1919 - 1922) Researchers perform testicular transplant experiments on inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California, inserting the testicles of recently executed inmates and goats into the abdomens and scrotums of living prisoners (Greger).
Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them die. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients (Sharav; ****burn and St. Clair, eds.).
(1931 - 1933) Mental patients at Elgin State Hospital in Illinois are injected with radium-266 as an experimental therapy for mental illness (Goliszek).
(1932-1972) The U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Ala. diagnoses 400 poor, black sharecroppers with syphilis but never tells them of their illness nor treats them; instead researchers use the men as human guinea pigs to follow the symptoms and progression of the disease. They all eventually die from syphilis and their families are never told that they could have been treated (Goliszek, University of Virginia Health System Health Sciences Library).
Scientists at Cornell University Medical School publish an angina drug study that uses both placebo and blind assessment techniques on human test subjects. They discover that the subjects given the placebo experienced more of an improvement in symptoms than those who were given the actual drug. This is first account of the placebo effect published in the United States ("Placebo Effect").
In order to test his theory on the roots of stuttering, prominent speech pathologist Dr. Wendell Johnson performs his famous "Monster Experiment" on 22 children at the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home in Davenport. Dr. Johnson and his graduate students put the children under intense psychological pressure, causing them to switch from speaking normally to stuttering heavily. At the time, some of the students reportedly warn Dr. Johnson that, "in the aftermath of World War II, observers might draw comparisons to Nazi experiments on human subjects, which could destroy his career" (Alliance for Human Research Protection).
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