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January 31, 1959


Author Affiliations


From the Anesthesia Laboratory, Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

JAMA. 1959;169(5):461-478. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73000220003010

Present Aims  Experimentation in man for scientific purposes is as old as recorded history. The need for constant examination of the procedure is equally ancient. This is required by progress in science and by the advance of ethical and moral concepts.In the two decades just passed, two reasons have emerged which especially point up the need for a new review of the subject. First, there were the outrages of Hitler's Germany. The puzzle is how such things could have occurred in modern society. Although the philosophical problems raised by those gross actions are beyond the area surveyed in this report, they too indicate the need for a long, straight look at our current practices. Second, there is the rather newly recognized fact that some types of basic scientific advance can be made only in the presence of disease. Nature presents us with bolder experiments than we would ever dare