Descending the magic mountain: how early clinical trials transformed the treatment of tuberculosis – by Jo Colston
Fifty years ago the results of Clinical Trials ordered by the Medical Research Council to test the effectiveness of streptomycin as a cure for tuberculosis were announced. This essay describes the important lessons learned and how this sort of carefully designed and controlled trial became the standard in clinical medicine.
The ethical conduct of scientific research – by Rod King
The increasing importance of ethical issues in all areas of scientific research, medical practice and for those in positions of responsibility, and the high profile given by the media to those who let standards slip, demand continuous vigilance.
Insulin and diabetes – by Guy Dodson
Diabetic disease affects one person in every two hundred and although it can be controlled by injection of insulin it cannot yet be cured. This essay shows how complex biophysical methods can give practical help in the design of new insulin molecules to improve the treatment of the condition.
In search of an enigma: the “Spanish Lady” – by Rod Daniels
The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than had died on both sides in the whole of the first World War. Influenza virus changes its properties from year to year and was not isolated from humans until 1933 so virologists, with an eye to controlling future outbreaks, would like to study the virus which did so much damage. This essay tells us about attempts to track down the 1918 virus.
The ghost in the machine – by Ed Hulme
One of the central unsolved questions for neuroscientists is how to link the extraordinarily complex organisation of brain cells with consciousness, the perception of self.
MMR vaccination and suggested links with Crohn’s disease – by Philip Minor
A hard and critical look at the evidence for and against a link between Crohn’s disease, autism, and vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella, which has had considerable publicity in the last few years. The author works at the NIBSC, which was established as an autonomous Institute in 1976 after an initial period as a component of the NIMR. One of the first biological medicines which it had to control was insulin.

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