It takes the reader on a long and exciting ride through the history of polio. Some die, mainly due to suffocation. Some research won Nobel Prizes; other work was flawed or fraudulent, holding up progress and endangering patients' lives. Gareth Williams takes an original view of the journey to understanding and defeating polio. At the beginning of the book, the author recounts being told by a friend to write this book now, before the disease disappears for ever, with the hope being that polio would go the way of smallpox and be wiped from the map.
More like a novel then a report, this book examines the origins of polio, the race to discover the cause for it, and eventually the vaccines that freed most of the world from its grip. I think this is also interesting in the issue of ethics, which crops up from time-to-time in this book. For a criticism of present-day misconduct in science, do read Ben Goldacre's critically acclaimed. He also describes how polio patients were treated and the eventual outcome of these treatments. Victory, however, was not gained by idealistic heroes, but by self-interested and flawed rivals who used practices of shameful ethics and skullduggery to gain their points. His tale of vendetta and bitterness reminds us that even medical heroes can be as jealous and petty as the rest of us.
And by anyone interested in an incredible story told by a great storyteller. Now, it is depressingly clear that this will have to wait, possibly for many years to come. Instead I will say that this book is both a narrative about the polio virus particularly in America , its long history and the drive to treat and prevent it and it is a rich unfolding of the complex and messy tale of medical research. And we have been on the brink for some time, and it seems that we will just stay there. Here and there, and this happens throughout, there are a few moments where we see the author amazed at the incredulity of people and some ideas that surrounded polio. It is here that one of the flaws emerged, when safety controls to ensure that live virus could not enter the vaccine failed, and one company, Cutter, produced vaccine that led to the deaths of 60 children from polio. The polio virus is spread by being swallowed and entering the gut; the live but weakened Sabin formulation promoted an intestinal immunity, a first line of defense.
He also describes how polio patients were treated and the eventual outcome of th This is the intriguing and often mindbending story of the discovery of and treatment for polio. Comments Like to comment on this review? Being a fan of all things social and cultural, I would have liked a bit more wrangling with these narratives especially over the iconic iron lung, but it was not the thrust of his book so it seems a bit churlish to mention this. There is no nice, neat linear path to positivity and the death of the polio virus. Even when this knowledge came to light, fear was caused due to lack of effective treatments or prevention. Gareth Williams takes an original view of the journey to understanding and defeating polio. Once under the banner of infantile paralysis, poliomyelitis now understood to affect adults too became a focus for concern and then fear as numbers of those infected rose year-on-year. The E-mail message field is required.
In the Opposite Corner -- 12. Inspired by the life of Edward Jenner, Gareth wrote Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize in 2010. It takes the reader on a long and exciting ride through the history of polio. Paul's seminal work, A History of Poliomyelitis, few writers have attempted to craft a competing macro-history of polio. Williams may have some thoughts about this and I would be keen to hear them. It takes the reader on a long and exciting ride through the history of polio. .
Their aim was to raise funds for polio victims and research. It was clear from the first that episodes came from a disease that was contagious, but the cause was not clear; it might have been blueberries or Italians or cats or flies or sugar. Some worryingly biased researchers would publish results from experiments which lacked appropriate controls. As Williams says, the story of polio, and more importantly its treatment and prevention, is a long and complex one that is not over yet. Millions of Pakistani kids are out of reach of any polio vaccine, and will provide the virus with breeding grounds. Wonderfully-researched, vividly-written, an example of medical history at its absolute best.
Paralysed with Fear also tracks the development of the iron lung from the pulmotor, initially used for miners. However, this was not to be the case. This is the story of mankind's struggle against polio, is compelling, exciting and full of twists and pardoxes. Salk brought out an injectable vaccine in 1954, using a deactivated virus. The eradication of polio is well within reach, but as throughout the whole history of polio recounted in this book, it is rivalry, vindictiveness and human frailty that is preventing eradication and ensuring that children in some parts of the world will continue to be paralysed and die from an entirely preventable disease. But one is made to understand that, in spite of awareness of the damage done by polio, the prospective rewards of honour and timelessness were greater incentives for the research conducted, rather than empathy and goodwill alone.
Lost in Transmission -- 6. Landsteiner, Koprowski, Retan, Nurse Kenny, and many more reputable scientists and convincing charlatans supplied answers, unwaveringly, to the questions of aetiology and prevention of polio. Most doctors these days will not see a case of polio; it was a disease that defined the twentieth century, and if we let it continue further into the twenty-first, we have only human folly to blame. In many ways this second narrative is not showcased as the star of the show, and it should be, as I think it really adds to our understanding of the history of medical research. Because of conflicts and the migration of refugees, polio is now spreading to other regions - and raising the possibility that this is becoming a battle we can never win.