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  • The Remedy (Audiobook) by Thomas Goetz |
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With "arresting tales of heroism," it is a story as much about the nature of human beings as it is about the nature of disease. The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns, and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family's spoons, tried on their underpants, and tested their chamber pots.

Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions. By the end of 19th century, food manufacturers had rushed to embrace the rise of industrial chemistry and were knowingly selling harmful products. Unchecked by government regulation, basic safety, or even labelling requirements, they put profit before health. Then, In , Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, a chemistry professor from Purdue University, was named chief chemist of the agriculture department, and the agency began methodically investigating food and drink fraud, even conducting shocking human tests on groups of young men who came to be known as, "The Poison Squad".

In , tuberculosis was the deadliest disease in the world, accountable for a third of all deaths. A diagnosis of TB - often called consumption - was a death sentence. Then, in a triumph of medical science, a German doctor named Robert Koch deployed an unprecedented scientific rigor to discover the bacteria that caused TB. Koch soon embarked on a remedy - a remedy that would be his undoing. When Koch announced his cure for consumption, Arthur Conan Doyle, then a small-town doctor in England and sometime writer, went to Berlin to cover the event.

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Touring the ward of reportedly cured patients, he was horrified. Conan Doyle, meanwhile, returned to England determined to abandon medicine in favor of writing. In particular, he turned to a character inspired by the very scientific methods that Koch had formulated: Sherlock Holmes. Capturing the moment when mystery and magic began to yield to science, The Remedy chronicles the stunning story of how the germ theory of disease became a true fact, how two men of ambition were emboldened to reach for something more, and how scientific discoveries evolve into social truths.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? Not only a fascinating story of how a TB cure was finally developed, but also fascinating life histories of the researchers involved in this effort.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Remedy? A lively, varied intonation makes the material even more interesting. Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you? The dreadful statistics about the number of people stricken by this terrible disease.

Any additional comments? I do not agree with the author's reliance upon The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as an explanation for how science proceeds. One is, of course, free to speculate to their heart's content, but it is the interpretation of relevant data that carries the day.

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis |

This business about first proposing an overarching paradigm, accepting it as "true," and then carrying out studies to verify the paradigm are, at best, a romantic misinterpretation of science as process. Ultimately, it is the bench scientist that carries the day. I'll start by saying I found several parts of this book quite fascinating. Goetz portrays a vivid picture of the development of the science of medicine in the latter half of the 19th century, especially with regards to the "germ theory". He does this both the perspective of the strictly technical, as well as from a Kuhnian "scientific revolution".

The rivalry, often petty, between Koch and Pasteur is also fascinating. What I have a hard time understanding is why Doyle features so prominently in the discussion. His association with Koch was tangential at best. He tried - and failed - to attend a pivotal lecture given by Koch. That's about it. One could have just as readily included Doc Holliday instead. This book is primarily about Robert Koch and his discovery of first Anthrax bacteria and then Tuberculosis.

In many ways this is the history of the germ theory and tuberculosis. The middle part of the book is about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle traveled to Berlin to hear Koch present his findings of a cure for tuberculosis.

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Doyle wrote a newspaper article that exposed the treatment a failure. The author also covers the battle between Koch and Pasteur, both who won the Noble prize in medicine. Goetz covers the success of hygiene and public education in the control of infectious disease as well as access to clean water and sewage control.

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  4. The epilogue is about the first success of antibiotics against TB and now the problem of drug resistance TB. It is a reminder that the ancient disease of tuberculosis is still with us and still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Donald Corren did a good job narrating the book. Reader was good, flow of information was interesting right up until the story of TB is rudely interrupted by the birth of the Sherlock Holmes stories The end of the book finally gets back on point and eventually the work on TB resumes. It was worth my time to listen, but go for the above books or "Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lack' or "Emperor of all Maladies" first.

    Very interesting subject matter. The interrelationships between many of the scientists of that age make for an interesting study.

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    However, this book is a little fragmented and often repetitive. Some of the other historical medical novels I've read are much better reads. Surprisingly interesting and oddly competitive and egotistical tale of the men who discovered bacteria, anthrax and the cure for tuberculosis. This is one of my favorites of the last year. There was information that Was new to me and the author cleverly put it into time and geographical context. Koch's self-destructive adherence to some bad scientific theory after enjoying remarkable successes. Forward flow. Did you have an extreme reaction to this book?

    Did it make you laugh or cry? No, but it did add to my analysis and consideration of medical treatment and immunization. Will read another book in this subject area. There are some very interesting side stories and anecdotes in Goetz's book. Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed.

    How Tuberculosis Begins

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