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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(9):1947

This feature is part of a year-long series of excerpts and special commentaries celebrating AFP's 50th year of publication. Excerpts from the two 1950 volumes of GP, AFP's predecessor, appear along with highlights of 50 years of family medicine.

This feature includes short comments and remarks from the July through December 1950 issues of GP.

Making the Short Taller

Recent studies have shown that Aureomycin in minute amounts added to the food of animals increases the rate of growth by as much as 50 percent. Studies are now under way to see if the drug will similarly increase the growth of undernourished and undersized children.

The medication cannot be accepted as safe for children until it is known that added tallness will not be associated with some defect of development somewhere in the body. (December 1950)

Chronic Illness Going Undiscovered

In the Public Health Reports for October 21, 1949, A. L. Chapman stated his belief that if 1000 adults were to be “screened,” 48 would be found to have syphilis; 22 diabetes; 20 glaucoma; 75 anemia; 18 tuberculosis; 200 obesity; 266 visual defects; 250 some loss of hearing; 38 hypertension; and 39 heart disease. (July 1950)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Physicians practicing in regions where Rocky Mountain spotted fever is endemic will be interested to hear that M. H. Knomas and L. Berlin have found that this disease sometimes leaves unpleasant sequelae such as mental changes, convulsions, hemiplegia, paraplegia or symptoms due to injury of cranial and peripheral nerves. (July 1950)

Drop in Cost of ACTH

Recently scientists at Tufts Medical School in the Pratt Diagnostic Hospital of Boston found a way to extract almost 100 percent of the anti-arthritis hormone from the pituitary glands of pigs. Heretofore the yield of the hormone has been very small.

This advance will doubtless now cause a big drop in the price of the drug. Already the cost has dropped from $235 a gram to $100 a gram, and this year there is 30 times as much more available each month than there was last year.

Incidentally, cortisone has dropped from $135 a gram to about $100 a gram. Last year Merck was making 350 Gm. a month and now is making 15,000 Gm. a month. (July 1950)

Rubberized Forceps Again

Many a physician can remember his general practitioner father's forceps which were covered with leather so as to make them easier on the baby's head. Now comes Dr. E. M. Greenberg of Beth Israel in New York, who has rubberized the blades by dipping them into liquid latex. This sounds like a good idea. (August 1950)

Lead Poisoning from Cutting Torches

In these days when so many men are using cutting torches, the physician must be on the watch for acute lead poisoning. He is likely to find it in men who are helping to wreck old buildings or ships or bridges. The torch vaporizes the paint, and the worker then inhales the fumes.

The men who cut up ships are particularly likely to get into trouble especially when they work in small enclosed spaces like the double hull. (July 1950)


One of the most curious things about the progress of medicine is that some physicians can report spectacular results with a drug which many others find useless. Later, however, after much trial, almost everyone will discontinue the use of the drug. (August 1950)

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