Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today in Medical History

Synthesized Cortisone

In 1948, Edward Kendall and Philip Hench created the first of the many “miracle drugs," which were actually synthesized hormones, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. Hench and Kendall, who each headed a medical department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized that the adrenal glands play an important role in rheumatoid arthritis. The two noticed that a woman with rheumatoid arthritis had a lessening of symptoms while she was pregnant, and they worked to discover what caused the change. They were able to isolate a hormone in the cortex, or outer part, of the adrenal glands, which they called cortisone.

On Sept. 21, 1948, Hench administered a synthesized version of cortisone developed by Kendall to a patient with arthritis. The two researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1950 for their achievements.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Just like Cushing's?


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Today in Medical History

A Growing Knowledge

On this date in 1931, chemists discovered that the pituitary gland contains a hormone, hGH, that controls growth. Overactivity of the pituitary, which sits at the base of the brain, results in gigantism. Underactivity results in dwarfism.

The discovery in 1931 eventually led to physicians treating children suffering from a deficiency of the hormone by injections of hGH obtained from the pituitaries of cadavers. More recently, scientists have discovered a way to produce genetically engineered hGH in bacteria.