50 & 100 years ago

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    50 Years ago

    Most areas where there is a high prevalence of multiple sclerosis coincide in a highly suggestive fashion with areas where glaciation has played an important part in providing parent material for soils. However, the converse is certainly not true: all glacial soils cannot be correlated with areas where the prevalence of multiple sclerosis is high. Maps showing the distribution of multiple sclerotic cases in Northern Ireland, south-eastern Ontario, Sweden, and Denmark are alike in one respect—they all bear a remarkable resemblance to maps illustrating the distribution of boulders or geochemical anomalies in any map prepared for the purpose of searching in a glaciated area for buried ore bodies ... One other point appears worthy of note: higher than 'normal' quantities of lead are known to occur in those rocks ... occurring in areas where the prevalence of multiple sclerosis is high ... It should also be noted that anomalous amounts of lead may, on occasion, be accompanied by anomalous amounts of some other elements such as silver, barium, magnesium, and fluorine.

    From Nature 15 August 1959.

    100 Years ago

    It is a usual custom in pharmacological work to state the dosage of drugs as so much per kilogram of body-weight of animal or man, the subject of experiment or treatment. Prof. Benjamin Moore points out in the Biochemical Journal ... that this method of stating dosage is inaccurate, the dose of a drug for two individuals of different size, apart from peculiar idiosyncrasies, being proportional, not to their weights, but to their body surfaces, in other words, to the two-thirds powers of their weights. Thus an adult of 150 lb. weight cannot be given fifteen times the dose for an infant of 10 lb., but much more nearly a dose only six times as much. It may be that it is this principle which limits the value of some drugs.

    From Nature 12 August 1909.

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 460, 807 (2009) doi:10.1038/460807b

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