The Progress of Experiment
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The Progress of Experiment : Science and Therapeutic Reform in the United States, 1900-1990

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How do we evaluate the safety and benefit of new drugs? What tasks do we hold the government responsible for and which ones do we leave to the medical profession? Harry Marks explores the origins of our contemporary system of drug regulation and the modern clinical trial. He shows that the story of modern drug regulation is synonymous with the history of therapeutic reform. Accompanying this history of public policy is a detailed account of changing experimental ideal and practices. Marks follows the history of therapeutic experimentation, from the 'collective investigations' of the last century to the controlled clinical trial which emerged after 1950 as the paradigm of scientific experimentation. The result is the first general history of clinical research in the United States, a book which examines therapeutic experiments in a wide range of diseases, from syphilis and pneumonia to heart disease and diabetes.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 18mm | 380g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521785618
  • 9780521785617
  • 1,269,154

Table of contents

Part I. Of Institutions and Character: The Era of Organisational Reform: 1. A rational therapeutics; 2. Memories of underdevelopment: therapeutic research in the US 1900-1935; 3. Playing it safe: the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938; 4. War and Peace; Part II. Of Statistics and Institutions, or the Triumph of Method: 5. Managing chance; 6. You gotta have heart; 7. Anatomy of a controversy: the University Group Diabetes Program study; 8. The dreams of reason.
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Review quote

'Harry Marks' book on science and therapeutic reform in the USA during the 20th century is the best available account of the progress of clinical experiment available, and nobody seriously interested in the topic can afford not to read it.' Endeavour ' ... the book has become essential reading for anyone thinking about the place of science within twentieth-century medicine.' Medical History 'The Progress of Experiment is a book rich in empirical detail, all meticulously documented in long footnotes. ... this book makes for interesting reading for anybody interested in arriving at a historically based judgement on the potential scope and limits of evidence-based medicine. With its detailed, well-researched case studies it will also provide good course reading. It is laudable that the paperback edition makes this book available to a wider group of potential readers.' The British Society for the History of Science "The Progress of Experiment is authoritative and erudite, yet reflective and philosophical. Its insights into the dynamics and processes of the dramatic change in therapeutics in this century are provocative, illuminating, and lucid. This is a thought-provoking book of therapeutic breadth and historical depth that will provide new, and sometimes uncomfortable, insights for clinicians and researchers." Rodney H. Taylor, The Lancet "The Progress of Experiment is authoritative and erudite, yet reflective and philosophical. Its insights into the dynamics and processes of the dramatic change in therapeutics in this century are provocative, illuminating, and lucid. This is a thought-provoking book of therapeutic breadth and historical depth that will provide new, and sometimes uncomfortable, insights for clinicians and researchers." Rodney H. Taylor, The Lancet "...this is a challenging historical study, sophisticated in its research and justifiably confident in its analysis. Marks has given us the best study we have of the shifting place and meanings of science in the culture of twentieth-century American clinical medicine." John Harley Warner, Nature "...the chapters on the struggles to introduce randomized clinical trials are impressive. The book is sure to change how we regard the origins of clinical trials; it also asks us to broaden our understanding of experimental ethics and to question the effects of different kinds of disciplinary authority. Marks shows once again that there is no single voice for science, but also that statistical designs can never substitute for political engagement when it comes to the kinds of therapies we decide to bar or allow. There is no better history of the complex weave of science, politics, and ethics in the design of therapeutic research protocols." Robert N. Proctor, Ph.D., The New England Journal of Medicine "...the chapters on the struggles to introduce randomized clinical trials are impressive. The book is sure to change how we regard the origins of clinical trials; it also asks us to broaden our understanding of experimental ethics and to question the effects of different kinds of disciplinary authority. Marks shows once again that there is no single voice for science, but also that statistical designs can never substitute for political engagement when it comes to the kinds of therapies we decide to bar or allow. There is no better history of the complex weave of science, politics, and ethics in the design of therapeutic research protocols." Robert N. Proctor, Ph.D., The New England Journal of Medicine "In a deeply researched, superbly structured, and lucidly written account, Harry Marks describes the attitudes and activities of a varied American group he terms 'therapeutic reformers,' who during this century strove 'to use the science of controlled experiments to direct medical practice'...Marks ends with a chapter on contemporary problems...His perspectives of science, politics, and ethics is well worth the attention of all participants in and observers of this complicated and crucial process related to the health of the nation." James Harvey Young, Bulletin of the History of Medicine "This book merits reading by anyone trying to understand the complex and problematic rrelationship between biomedical science and clinical patient care." Marcia Meldrum, Isis "This book merits reading by anyone trying to understand the complex and problematic relationship between biomedical science and clinical patient care." Marcia Meldrum, Isis "Marks has drwan on a wide array of published and unpublished sources in this well-written book. The story that he tells is a complex one that weaves together many threads..." John Parascandola, American Historical Review "This sociologically-informed historical account enables some of the underbelly of relationships between health-care knowledge and medical policy to be examined. Its depiction of a science relatively weak in its ability to shape health-care policy is worthy of careful consideration amongst the current proponents of health technology assessment and evidence-based medicine." Alex Faulkner, Science and Public Policy "The Progress of Experiment: Science and Therapeutic Reform in the United States: 1900-1990" explains the origins of clinical research in the United States and how it has evolved into an indispensible foundation for medical care. It also explains why the Food & Drug Administration controls the marketing and labeling of drugs, but not how physicians prescribe them." -Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices
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Rating details

10 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 20% (2)
4 50% (5)
3 20% (2)
2 10% (1)
1 0% (0)
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