Electroconvulsive therapy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Psychoanalysis -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Psychiatry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
It is common to represent the history of American psychiatry by comparing it to a pendulum. In this metaphorical rendering, psychiatry has swung back and forth between extremes of emphasis on psyche (life events and inner conflict ruling etiological thinking, talk therapy dominating treatment) and soma (biochemical sources dominating etiological thinking, somatic treatments dominating treatment). This article argues that, while this metaphor is suited to capturing certain aspects of American psychiatric history, it distorts others by, for example, exaggerating the extent of dogmatism on either side and obscuring continuities in psychiatry's history. The article looks specifically at the reception by psychoanalysts to the introduction of electroconvulsive therapy. It shows that psychoanalytic views of ECT were diverse and more receptive to ECT than the pendulum metaphor might lead us to believe.
Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute -- History -- 20th century.
Alexander, Raymond A.
Theiler, Arnold, Sir, 1867-1936.
African horse sickness -- Vaccination -- South Africa -- History -- 20th century.
African horse sickness virus -- South Africa -- History -- 20th century.
Veterinary public health -- South Africa -- History -- 20th century.
This article examines the practice of veterinary immunology in South Africa during the first half of the twentieth century through an analysis of research into a horsesickness vaccine at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. From the early 1900s, Arnold Theiler prioritized research into horsesickness, by then defined as an insect-borne disease caused by an ultravisible virus. He succeeded in devising a means of prophylaxis using a simultaneous injection of infective blood and immune serum, but he discovered antigenically different strains of the virus, which could overcome the immunity produced by his treatment. The practical value of Theiler's methods was further limited by difficulties in standardizing the biological material used in immunization, the results of which remained too erratic for application on a large scale. No further advances were made until the 1930s, by which time Onderstepoort had been drawn more closely into international scientific networks. Using techniques derived from research into yellow fever in America and canine distemper in Britain, the Onderstepoort scientist Raymond Alexander invented a method of immunization that utilized the propagation of the horsesickness virus in the brains of mice. Alexander's methods, which were characterized by successful technical adaptation and innovation, depended upon methods of quantification first developed by Paul Ehrlich to standardize diphtheria antitoxin during the 1890s. During the 1940s, vaccination expanded rapidly in South Africa, and Onderstepoort later exported the vaccine and associated technology to other countries affected by horsesickness.
Raymond A. Alexander, horsesickness, immunology, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa, Arnold Theiler, Max Theiler, vaccines, veterinary medicine.
After Heberden's description of patients with "angina pectoris" in 1768, for over 125 years most physicians believed that the disease was immediately fatal. The growing realization early in the twentieth century that in fact patients could survive an acute myocardial infarction led to a search for mechanisms and treatment. Coronary thrombosis was the primary candidate for the inciting event, but this supposition was based on rather piecemeal and uncritical reports. It became apparent that coronary thrombosis and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), terms that had often been used interchangeably, actually represented separate pathological entities. A few physicians even proposed that AMI caused coronary thrombosis rather than the other way around. The reasons for some investigators rejecting the coronary thrombosis hypothesis were ultimately shown to be the result of faulty pathological techniques and interpretations. This debate ended only when in vivo studies (i.e., coronary arteriography in living patients during AMI episodes) finally settled the matter. These events indicate that older theories, even when derived from faulty reasoning or poorly substantiated documentation, might ultimately prove valid. Newer investigative techniques can suddenly clarify issues that have previously seemed irresolvable. The identification of coronary thrombosis in AMI has led to major advances in the treatment of this serious and ubiquitous disease.