Mist tent therapy for cystic fibrosis went through a rise and fall in popularity between the 1950s and 1970s, providing an opportunity to explore the nature of therapeutic change in medicine. The therapy “worked” in the context of a particularly grim life expectancy in the early 1950s and in the setting of a comprehensive therapeutic program that began in Cleveland in 1957. Although clinical studies published in the 1970s provided evidence that mist tents were ineffective or even harmful, these later studies were not necessarily more robust than earlier studies that provided evidence of mist tent efficacy, suggesting that other factors may have also contributed to mist tent abandonment. In fact, the unpalatable nature of mist tent therapy, which was described by one doctor as akin to incarceration, and studies that questioned the theoretical underpinnings of the therapy also played important roles in the eventual abandonment of mist tents.


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pp. 634-663
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