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1940s Boston: When Giants in Lab Coats Walked the Earth
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I don’t know much about medical history, so in the quarter century I’ve been reading books by Jared Diamond, I’d never recognized his family name until I looked it up while writing my review in Taki’s of his latest book, Upheaval:

He started off in physiology, in the footsteps of his father, Louis Diamond, a medical researcher who discovered a number of hereditary blood disorders. Diamond’s dad, “the father of pediatric hematology,” was a great man. His New York Times obituary said a transfusion technique he invented in 1946 “is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies.”

I’ve read a lot of obituaries over the years, and not too many of them include the line “is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies.”

But then, Boston in the 1940s appears to have been teeming with historic figures medical research. Jared Diamond mentions at the beginning of his new book the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston in 1942 that killed 492 people. One of the two E.R. surgeons on duty was Dr. Francis D. Moore, who went on to a titanic career. There was a great Atul Gawande article about him in the New Yorker in 2003, although it can be hard to find online.

Another giant was Leonard Diamond’s colleague:

Sidney Farber (September 30, 1903 – March 30, 1973) was an American pediatric pathologist. He is regarded as the father of modern chemotherapy for his work using folic acid antagonists to combat leukemia, which led to the development of other chemotherapeutic agents against other malignancies. Farber was also active in cancer research advocacy and fundraising, most notably through his establishment of the Jimmy Fund, a foundation dedicated to pediatric research in childhood cancers. The Dana–Farber Cancer Institute is named after him.

Up through World War II, the word “cancer” was barely spoken out loud because it was seen as an automatic death sentence. About 10 years ago, my wife was talking to an Armenian lady from the Soviet Union. She mentioned that I had survived cancer. “Your husband survived … [in a whispered voice] cancer?”

Well, it was like that in the U.S. too. In 1948, Farber got one of the leukemia kids he’d gotten into remission on the Truth and Consequences radio show and the boy caused a national sensation. So Farber added public relations to his scientific and medical responsibilities and had a big impact on public support for cancer research.

One of the first celebrities to “battle cancer” in the public eye was the famous woman track and golf star Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who came back from cancer surgery to win the 1954 Women’s Open by 12 strokes. President Eisenhower called attention to her heroism.

 
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  1. Truth and Consequences

    Truth or Consequences. It seems odd that it was such a hit on the radio, but I guess entertainment options were more limited back then.

    Your younger readers may not know this, but the primary host of TorC was someone who later became more well known for hosting another game show

    [MORE]
    Bob Barker

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  2. “Giants” is triggering to those who are “height” challenged.

  3. Up through World War II, the word “cancer” was barely spoken out loud because it was seen as an automatic death sentence

    When we got an ultrasound of our first child a dozen years ago, my wife said her mother got one of her, too, and asked if my folks got one of me. I had to look up whether ultrasounds were even available at the time.

    Turns out they were only used for tumors and other difficult surgical cases. The first use in a pregnancy didn’t come until a year or two later– just in time for Steve!– and for a long time thereafter were only used in dire cases, as the side effects on the child were yet to be determined.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  4. Wow.. it blows my mind that so many could die in a one-story blaze.
    Interesting details about the club though:

    Gangland boss and bootlegger Charles “King” Solomon, also known as “Boston Charlie”, owned the club from 1931 to 1933, when he was gunned down in the men’s room of Roxbury’s Cotton Club nightclub in 1933. Ownership passed to Solomon’s lawyer Barnet “Barney” Welansky, who sought a more mainstream image for the club while he privately boasted of his ties to the Mafia and to Boston Mayor Maurice J. Tobin. He was known to be a tough boss who ran a tight ship: hiring teenagers to work as busboys for low wages, and street thugs who doubled as waiters and bouncers. He locked exits, concealed others with draperies, and even bricked up one emergency exit to prevent customers from leaving without paying.

    Locking & blocking fire exits was a trick used by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris in the Triangle Shirtwaist disaster years before. Far more were killed in this fire.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Jack D
    , @prosa123
  5. @ScarletNumber

    Your younger readers may not know this, but the primary host of TorC was someone who later became more well known for hosting another game show

    They also enticed a New Mexico city to adopt their name.

    Reminds me of former Nets executive Jon Spoelstra’s idea to pay East Rutherford to rename itself “Nike”, to get around the NBA’s ban on advertising on uniforms.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  6. @AnotherDad

    “Giants” is triggering to those who are “height” challenged.

    Good thing Eddie Gaedel appeared only in the American League.

  7. @Mr McKenna

    Slight correction: two levels in the building, sort of. The fire started in the basement “Melody Lounge” and travelled quickly upstairs. Harrowing story.

  8. @Reg Cæsar

    Spoelstra’s second idea was to rename the team the New Jersey Swamp Dragons. The NBA owners approved the idea 26-1. The lone dissenter: the Nets themselves. The Nets had 7 owners then (colloquially known as the Secaucus Seven) and the owner at this particular meeting got cold feet. Spoelstra later said of the Nets’ ownership: They rarely agreed on anything. It was amazing. You’d ask them whether the light was on, and two guys would vote yes, two would vote no, and three would abstain.

    Epilogue: The Nets were sold in 1998, moved to Newark in 2010, and moved to Brooklyn in 2012. Spoelstra’s son Erik has been coach of the Miami Heat since 2008, the longest in their history.

    • Replies: @Marty
  9. Anon[520] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    From Wikipedia:

    Isaac Newton remarked in a letter to his rival Robert Hooke dated February 5, 1676 [O.S.](February 15, 1676) that:

    What Des-Cartes [sic] did was a good step. You have added much several ways, & especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders [sic] of Giants.

    This has recently been interpreted by a few writers as a sarcastic remark directed at Hooke’s appearance. Although Hooke was not of particularly short stature, he was of slight build and had been afflicted from his youth with a severe kyphosis. However, at this time Hooke and Newton were on good terms and had exchanged many letters in tones of mutual regard. Only later, when Robert Hooke criticized some of Newton’s ideas regarding optics, was Newton so offended that he withdrew from public debate. The two men remained enemies until Hooke’s death.

    • Replies: @Endgame Napoleon
  10. (((Louis Diamond))) and (((Sidney Farber))), sneakily using pediatric hematology and cancer treatments to insinuate themselves with the salt of the earth. Jared, you have to go back!

    Francis D. Moore was president of the Harvard Lampoon and Hasty Pudding. This must have been before such people used their smarts to get into sitcom writers’ rooms.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  11. Jack D says:
    @Mr McKenna

    The lounge was lit by low-powered light bulbs in coconut-styled sconces beneath the fronds. A young man, possibly a soldier, had unscrewed a light bulb in order to give himself and his date privacy while kissing. Stanley Tomaszewski—a 16-year-old busboy—was instructed to put the light back on by tightening the bulb. He stepped up onto a chair to reach the light in the darkened corner. Unable to see the bulb, he lit a match to illuminate the area, tightened the bulb, and extinguished the match. Witnesses first saw flames in the fronds, which were just below the ceiling, immediately afterward.

    Boston in those days, like everywhere else, was populated not only by giants but also by mental midgets.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  12. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Since you think you’re on a tear here, I dare you to research the owners of the (many) clubs (or factories, what have you) where the fire exits were blocked, lest someone escape without paying their tribute. I did some legwork upthread. Even got as far as circus fires in Brazil and…(just about)…every…single…time….

  13. prosa123 says:

    One of the first celebrities to “battle cancer” in the public eye was the famous woman track and golf star Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who came back from cancer surgery to win the 1954 Women’s Open by 12 strokes. President Eisenhower called attention to her heroism.

    Unfortunately her battle was a brief one, as she died two years later.
    Speaking of athletes named Babe suffering from cancer, when Babe Ruth was diagnosed with cancer in 1946 he never was told of the diagnosis, which was common medical practice at the time.

    • Replies: @Barnard
  14. BenKenobi says:

    he never was told of the diagnosis

    Isn’t that like, the first line of the hippocracker oath?

    “first, hurt no feelings…”

  15. I can remember my grandparents and their friends dropping their voices to talk about someone with cancer in the 70s and early 80s.

  16. Cortes says:

    Up through World War II, the word “cancer” was barely spoken out loud because it was seen as an automatic death sentence. About 10 years ago, my wife was talking to an Armenian lady from the Soviet Union. She mentioned that I had survived cancer. “Your husband survived … [in a whispered voice] cancer?”

    Great story.

    I think different places and circumstances determine (Diamondesque!) medical research priorities. In the wake of WWII, with vast numbers of injured people to rehabilitate, the Soviet system developed at least one technique which astounded Western counterparts three decades later:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilizarov_apparatus

    Free bonus: maybe it doesn’t produce giants, but it can make people taller.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  17. @AnotherDad

    “Giants” is not so triggering to a Bostonian as “Yankees.”

  18. anonymous[326] • Disclaimer says:

    Why doesn’t anybody pay attention to ideas in education that work?

    The Harvard Junior Fellowship allows superstar professors to nominate superstar students to live in Cambridge with zero classwork or teaching responsibilities. Their only duty is to attend dinners. Noam Chomsky talked about how awesome this was for him when he was building his revolution. I once heard a poet laureate talk about his dinners with people like Chomsky and physics geniuses.

    “Some of its best-known members over the years have been philosopher W. V. Quine; behaviorist B. F. Skinner; double Nobel laureate John Bardeen; sociologist George C. Homans, economist Paul Samuelson; historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.; presidential adviser McGeorge Bundy; historian and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn; linguist Noam Chomsky; biologist E. O. Wilson; cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky; former dean of the Harvard faculty, economist Henry Rosovsky; philosopher Saul Kripke; Fields Medal-winning theoretical physicist Ed Witten; and writer, critic, and editor Leon Wieseltier.”

    Steve Hsu was a junior fellow.

    • Replies: @Roger Sweeny
  19. @Mr McKenna

    Well, I know the Triangle Shirtwaist owners opened another factory shortly after and blocked the exits there, too. The owners were Jewish, scumbag greedy evil people. The victims of the fire were largely Jews, too.

    Off the top of my head, there’s the Happyland fire in the Bronx, a Latino guy who locked everyone in and killed almost 100 people IIRC. Then there’s Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a black took Sharpton’s urging and set fire to a Jewish store in Harlem and killed 7 Puerto Rican workers. I agree with you though, almost 500 dead at the Cocoanut Grove is astounding. I’d never heard of it.

    I’m not getting into it w/ you KcKenna, you’re alright. I enjoy your posts. Just a little dig at the Parentheses People because that stuff gets a little repetitive and boring, frankly. If people don’t like Jews I sincerely could not give a shit. I live in NYC where every group hates every other group.

    I walked into a cancer unit in a Manhattan hospital the other day and who should it be named for? every…single…. And yes, white Christian philanthropists built this country with private donations in a way never seen before, and for that all Americans should be forever grateful, and sadly many people (and many Jews) are not. Maybe in 50 years the hospitals’ll be named for rich Chinese or Arabs, what do I know.

  20. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Previously, you have indicated that you yourself are of Jewish ancestry. Non-observing then I take it? Or just whenever it’s convenient?

    • Replies: @Ghost of Bull Moose
  21. ic1000 says:
    @Ghost of Bull Moose

    A “like” for that comment, Ghost.

  22. Cancer wasn’t commonly spoken of in the past because it wasn’t common. The rate of cancer increased by one-hundred times in the past century to the point where one-third of American adults can now expect to develop cancer. Something is very, very wrong.

    Oncology has improved matters as the age-adjusted mortality rate of cancer patients has dropped, but the improvement is not great. Some oncologists speak pessimistically of having failed as a profession. Cancer was not necessarily an automatic death sentence in the past. See this paper on mid-Victorian health in Britain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672390/

    Not only were cancers very uncommon compared to today, they appear to have differed in other key respects. James Paget (of Paget’s Disease) built a large practice on the strength of diagnosing breast cancer, which he did by sight and palpation – that is at Stages 3 and 4. In this group he describes a life expectancy of 4 years after diagnosis, extending to eight or more with surgery [72]. The corresponding figures today are Stage 3: 50% survival at 10 years if given surgery, chemo- and radio-therapy, and Stage 4: overall survival about 15 months.

  23. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Supper_Club_fire

    They interrupted the cartoons the morning after to cover it. Luckily I was too mad to watch. Found out later my parents had been there the prior weekend.

  24. Anon[206] • Disclaimer says:

    As I said on the previous post, a lot of this is Harvard PR. I already mention how Harvard’s machine had confiscated Cooley anemia (aka thalassemia from Cooley), and attributed its discovery to Diamond.

    Similarly, the first chemotherapy was invented by exploiting side effects of mustard gas. Due to its extensive use in WWI, US gov invested in research for an antidote. While working for this project Goodman and Gilman noticed that mustard gas derivatives kill leukemia cells. In 1942, they famously treated the first patient, J.D.

    But this was in all in Yale. Farber did his study on folic acid inhibitors in 1947. But Farber must have had sex with some women from Harvard, because, according to Wikipedia, he fathered chemotherapy.

    For God’s sake, JD is famous. How could Harvard hide JD from your selection of wikipedia pages?

    Also, Gawande is a talking head, as vacuous as Jared Diamond, ready to spit out provocative yet unsupported opinions. Typical Harvard Med.

  25. @Reg Cæsar

    Congrats on your young wife, and, of course, your children! (At such an advanced age.)

  26. One of the first celebrities to “battle cancer” in the public eye was the famous woman track and golf star Babe Didrikson Zaharias

    Saying somebody has to “battle cancer” is becoming politically incorrect as it implies that the people who die from cancer are losers.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/opinions/cancer-is-not-a-war-jardin-opinion/index.html

    https://nypost.com/2016/04/24/stop-telling-the-lie-that-cancer-is-a-battle/

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-puri-cancer-fighting-language-20190519-story.html

  27. Ibound1 says:

    I am not sure that saving babies would be considered a “Good Thing” any more, unless they were children of illegals stopped at the border and saved from Trump. And it might be very much less likely that Diamond would even gain admittance to medical school these days. He would just be a pale male and we all know prestigious research positions must be given out by quota – as they undoubtedly are at least for sex. Anyone can -and would – save hundreds of thousands of babies if they are only given the spot at the hospital.

  28. prosa123 says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Even if some of the Cocoanut Grove’s exits weren’t blocked there might still have been a significant death toll. There were a legally sufficient four exits from Rhode Island’s Station night club, which burned down in 2003 with 100 deaths, but two of them were in odd locations and difficult to find. Most patrons headed toward the obvious, much more accessible main entrance, unfortunately it quickly became jammed.

  29. Polynices says:

    The Cocoanut Grove fire is still taught about in medical school because of the profound advances it led to in our care of burn victims, smoke inhalation victims, and in respiratory and pulmonary critical care generally. It happened near Mass General Hospital, one of the world’s great hospitals.

  30. @anonymous

    Everyone in graduate education knows about the Harvard Junior Fellows. Harvard takes about the top thousandth of a percent and gives them freedom and resources for three years. They get hotshot professor models and three years to try to be like them. Many do become academic superstars.

    But it’s much less likely to work for someone who is only in the top 0.1 percent. No more than giving a person NBA workouts will make him a basketball star.

  31. Coag says:

    Whenever pasty white westerners are accused of having “no culture” compared to the Mexicans’ colorful festivals and spicy cuisine, or as opposed to the West Africans’ rhythmic musicality and easygoing social disinhibition, one can only be astonished by how trite these folkways are compared to the towering cultural legacy of western man wandering all the physical and metaphysical world like Odin in the tales thirsting endlessly for foreknowledge, and bringing back the most astonishing and Promethean achievements to an ungrateful mankind.

    • Agree: jim jones
  32. John Wayne was admired for licking “the Big C” in 1964, as mentioned in his LA Times obit:

    But it was not merely the roles he played as an actor that created the enduring love affair with his fans. It was as if, over the years, the actor and the man seemed to merge together — both in the mind of many Americans, and within Wayne himself — to form one, indistinguishable symbol of courage, endurance and indestructibility.

    John Wayne simply seemed to turn into John Wayne.

    The culmination of that metamorphosis — of what might be called the blending of the man and the myth — became complete in 1964 when Wayne, then 57, successfully, and publicly defeated cancer.

    Two months after leaving Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, Wayne — against the advice of his own public relations advisers — called a press conference at his home to advise the world he had undergone surgery for lung cancer. A startled nation learned that, by virtue of early detection, the Duke had “licked the Big C.” It was, at the time, cancer’s most public defeat. Almost immediately, doctors reported getting requests from patients for “the kind of operation John Wayne had.”

    As if to underscore the totality of his recovery — less than four months after he’d first entered Good Samaritan — Wayne, with only one lung, headed to Durango, Mexico to film, in high altitude, the physically demanding “Sons of Katie Elder.”

    The Big C got its vengeance: Wayne died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979. There’s a theory that Wayne’s cancer was related to his role as an unlikely Genghis Khan in the film The Conqueror (1956). It was shot in southwestern Utah, east of and generally downwind from the site of recent U.S. Government nuclear weapons tests in Nevada. Ninety-one cast and crew members developed some form of cancer at various times, including Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, Pedro Armendáriz, and director Dick Powell. Wayne, though, blamed his cancer on his six-pack-a-day cigarette habit.

  33. Anon[319] • Disclaimer says:

    Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston in 1942 that killed 492 people.

    My uncle died in that fire.

  34. Bernie says:

    “Wayne, though, blamed his cancer on his six-pack-a-day cigarette habit.”

    How does one smoke 6 packs a day? He must have been chain-smoking from the time he woke up until he went to bed at night.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  35. Barnard says:
    @prosa123

    It was the same with Oscar Hammerstein in 1960, the doctors told his family he had cancer, but the family asked the doctors not to tell him.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  36. Cortes says:
    @Cortes

    Incomplete answer earlier, so apologies.

    I’d meant to add that after doing a little research on prescribed industrial injuries for someone I recalled the notorious case of the

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium_Girls

    and was wondering what stimulus the publicity attendant thereon gave to research efforts into cancers.

  37. @Harry Baldwin

    There’s not really time to smoke 120 cigarettes in a day. That is, if you want to do anything else but smoke. People who are burning through that many cigs in a day are just setting them in the ashtray and letting them smolder down.

    I know this from personal experience. The most I was ever able to get through actually smoking was 2.5 packs in one day… and I was in agony (mouth, throat, lung agony) until late the following day.

  38. @Harry Baldwin

    his six-pack-a-day cigarette habit

    That’s a lot of cancer sticks…

    Nicotine’s effect on the brain mimics that of satisfying one’s libido so maybe he wasn’t so miscast as one might think.

  39. “One of the first celebrities to “battle cancer” in the public eye was the famous woman track and golf star Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who came back from cancer surgery to win the 1954 Women’s Open by 12 strokes. President Eisenhower called attention to her heroism.”

    Supposedly Didrikson, when not allowed to compete on the PGA, helped found the LPGA. She was a prodigy in many sports: bowling; softball; track; golf; basketball; etc.

    Have always believed that the over-publicized attention given to HIV from 1980’s up thru the 2010’s has diverted necessary government funds that should be going to cancer research. Now that HIV can be at least controlled, perhaps now we can get back to actually, you know, attempting to find an actual complete and total cure for cancer? Never understood why HIV received the vast amount of attention when it has never even approached much less surpassed the number of cancer deaths in any given year.

    Each year, cancer remains the US’s #1 or #2 killer. After all this time, these many, many decades of studying it, why are we still unable to find a complete cure for the vast majority of sufferers? In other words, the hope would be that one day, like the Salk vaccine for polio, one can just take a pill or an injection vs cancer, and, one is protected throughout one’s life from ever getting the disease. Or, if one gets it, they can take an injection and it completely disappears for several decades at the very least.

    THAT would be a total cure, hopefully realistic to set the bar as high as possible. If other diseases can be eradicated, why not cancer as it remains one of the US’s annual top killers?

    That’s a fair question, Steve. My mother lost her battle and did not make it.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Barnard
  40. @Redneck farmer

    Red, my cousin died on his sixteenth birthday of cancer. We went to his house the night before for cake and ice cream, he looked like an Aushwitz survivor. Never knew until years later what he died from. Buffalo is home to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Roswell Park is the founder’s name, not a green space.) Forty years ago I dated a nurse who worked there, crazy funny girl. One night I helped her sneak a seventeen your old kid, who had already lost one leg to cancer, out for a night of fun. We brought him to an famous Elmwood Avenue bar where I talked the bartender into serving him his first drinks ever. Took him back, half in the bag. I don’t know and don’t care if my friend did anything else for him that night. He died a couple of weeks later. A toast at the same bar.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  41. Men in white lab coats bad. Trigger KKK reflex.

  42. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Jack D

    Yeah, the dry decorative foliage would have lasted forever through the age of universal smoking. Disasters are consistently the situational equivalent of the Goodfellas guy going through life asking everyone to beat him up.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  43. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Never understood why HIV received the vast amount of attention when it has never even approached much less surpassed the number of cancer deaths in any given year.

    The gay mafia is real. I’ve got to type up an excerpt from a book published in the 40s which beautifully explains how it works.

  44. Marty says:
    @ScarletNumber

    I once played in a pick-up game in Berkeley with the Nets’ current G.M., aussie Sean Marks. Since he’s 6’10”, I figured I’d just keep feeding him and we’d stay on the court a good while. He missed every shot he took and we lost. Friendly guy, though.

  45. Barnard says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Never understood why HIV received the vast amount of attention when it has never even approached much less surpassed the number of cancer deaths in any given year.

    It had to do with the people who were getting HIV. The elites consider them much more important than the Rust Belt factory worker who dies from cancer at 55.

  46. @HammerJack

    Jack, not to get too personal, but mine’s a bit of a Tobias Wolff situation if you know what I mean. On one side I’m American Scots-Irish from Virginia, on the other Austrian Ashkenazi. I really don’t like people running down America, but I also think JQ people sound like shvartzes complaining about the white man’s tricknology. So, you know, it’s always convenient. How ’bout yourself?

  47. @stillCARealist

    Almost all reputable biographies on Wayne clearly state that he smoked between 4-5 packs of cigarettes per day. Assuming that he started in his mid teens, (common then for people of his generation) up until his procedure in ’64, that’s about 40-45 yrs of day in day out constant and continual smoking.

  48. So Boston’s gone from Sidney Farber to Annie Dookhan. I think she wore a lab coat too. For liberals, that’s all that counts.

  49. Jack D says:
    @Mr McKenna

    If you look at the most deadly nightclub fires, a pattern emerges (but not the one that you think).

    First of all, the most deadly fires in the US happened a long time ago, with the most recent in the top 10 being the Beverly Hills club fire in 1977. As this Beverly Hills was in Kentucky, I assume there were no Joos blocking the doors.

    But most of the rest happen (some quite recently, in the 21st century) in other countries such as China and the Philippines. While it is possible that they brought in some Joos to those places to block the exits, I would tend to doubt it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nightclub_fires

    Jews in America were and are certainly involved in the nightclub business (and in all branches of the entertainment industry). They were and are also involved in cutting edge medical research and philanthropy and account for around 1/4 of all US Nobel Prizes, billionaires, faculty at elite colleges, Turing Award winners, etc. (despite being 2% of the population) . Basically Jews in America are involved in any sort of endeavor where high IQ confers an advantage, be it good or bad, criminal or legal. So “every single time” has to be understood in that light.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Mr McKenna
  50. Olorin says:
    @Harry Baldwin

    six-pack-a-day cigarette habit.

    Possibly self-medication for unrecognized but dimly sensed cellular damage that results in (sudden? progressive? cascading?) acetylcholine receptor (nicotine’s click-in) disruption?

    I’m looking forward to the day that we get past the sense of “cancer” being a shame, a demon, a monster, a mountain to climb, a research challenge, or whatever similar anthropomorphized epic…

    …and toward both scientific and mass understanding how these vastly diverse cellular derangements function similarly…and differently…at the level of metabolism.

    All lumped together as “the crab.”

    (We credit Hippocrates, iirc, for this metaphor. It had to do with the appearance of tumors rather than today’s folk sense that “the crab” is something that nibbles away at the body.)

    On my bucket life list of Stuff To Look Up is what is known about how evolutionarily conserved are the various cellular pathways that various “cancers” “exploit” for their proliferation.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  51. @Anon

    It’s hard for other giants to compete with medical giants since they save humans, but some of us value the giants that enhance quality of life in lesser spheres, too. Newton did this for artists by discovering complementary colors, a theoretical concept that actually works in constructing a painting, unlike a lot of political theories that don’t work to construct much of anything.

    It’s sad to see that even an unparalleled giant of science, like Newton, was capable of pettiness, but this guy’s thorough-to-the-max art site reveals another instance. Sir Issac—a man who rose from humble circumstances—is putting down the “uneducated.”

    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color2.html#newton

    But that comment about “standing on the shoulders of giants” might have meant nothing more than what it seems to mean: a figurative way of crediting Newton’s intellectual predecessors. That comment can be interpreted different ways, not just as a catty man’s dissing of a shorter man.

    But snarling, open put downs of the “uneducated” are beneath a giant of science like Newton. Why did he need to compete in such a manner? Even among the educated, he had few rivals. He did not need to put down the uneducated to prove his intellectual superiority. They were just intellectual road kill for someone like Newton.

    As un-contest-ably giant as he was, Newton could also be wrong about science. As the Handprint guy points out, Newton did not get the distinction between additive color mixing / v/s subtractive color mixing right, even though he was light years ahead on some things. He noticed the issues associated with both types of color mixing, but he did not theoretically formalize the differences.

  52. @Jack D

    Beverly Hills was in Kentucky

    This was just across the river from Cincinnati which was Mob territory before it became smirking MAGA hat kid land.

    https://jleemurphy.com/beverly-hills-supper-club/

    • Replies: @Jack D
  53. Jack D says:
    @J.Ross

    Yep, the places that go up are almost always disasters waiting to happen. The only real question is WHEN, not WHETHER. And WHEN they do, the disaster is always compounded because the same total disregard for safety that leads the management to utilize a kindling based decorating scheme also leads them to not worry about whether the fire exits are blocked, etc.

  54. Jack D says:
    @Desiderius

    The Mob allegations are nothing more than vague handwaving and in any case the Cleveland Outfit was Italian (and its later days Irish). By 1977 it was a spent force.

    The Beverly closed for a few years but in the late 1960s, Richard Schilling [not Jewish] purchased the place with plans to reopen it as a dinner theater. When he, too, wouldn’t take the mob on as partners, they burned the place down again, this time on June 21, 1970, during remodeling. Not to be discouraged, Schilling finished his renovations and opened what became the most successful dinner theater in the entire Midwest.

    Or else Schilling burned it down to pay for the renovations or else it was just a careless contractor. In any case this is 7 years before the fateful fire and had nothing to do with it.

    A young busboy, Walter Bailey, had been told by one of the waitresses that the Zebra Room was on fire and decided on his own that the Cabaret Room needed to be cleared. …Bailey entered the large room and walked onto the stage where the comedy duo of Teeter and McDonald was performing. Speaking in a calm voice on the microphone, he informed patrons that there was a small fire on the other side of the building and instructed them to leave immediately. He pointed out the three ways to exit: through the main doors from which they had entered the room, and two emergency exits, one on each side of the stage.

    Unfortunately, about one-third of the estimated 1,150 patrons paid no attention to the warning. They later told investigators they were either busy ordering drinks or talking with family and friends. Another third thought the busboy’s speech was somehow part of the comedy act and did not get out of their seats. Only about 400 people heeded the warning immediately, gathered their belongings, and headed for the exits. Those people, of course, had little difficulty leaving what would soon be an inferno.

    This version of the story is not at all credible, like the kind of tale that PI lawyers spin at trial. You’re in a crowded nightclub, one third of the people suddenly get up and file out the doors and you’re “busy” and don’t notice? Bullshit. Even if you didn’t hear the initial announcement clearly or thought it was a joke, you’re going to notice when 400 people all get up at once and head for the doors. These people were the authors of their own death. They probably figured, ” I don’t smell smoke, it’s a false alarm. I don’t feel like getting up and waiting outside and meanwhile my dinner will get cold. ”

    And then there is a massive coverup afterward involving the governor and every cop in Kentucky from top to bottom.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    , @Desiderius
    , @prosa123
  55. prosa123 says:
    @stillCARealist

    President Nassar of Egypt smoked five packs of cigarettes a day. He smoked all day, and being an absolute leader no one was about to tell him to stop. Even though Nassar hated the United States, he only spoken American cigarettes.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  56. J.Ross says: • Website
    @prosa123

    Europe knew about tobacco before Raleigh returned from Virginia, but American tobacco was considerably milder than its Turkish cousin. Russian is somewhere inbetween, Soviet-style cigs are actually very small cigars with a deliberately empty tube instead of a filter. I’ve never had the French stuff but it’s supposed to be le roi.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  57. prosa123 says:

    Buffalo is home to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Roswell Park is the founder’s name, not a green space.)

    Roswell Park was performing an operation in Niagara Falls when President McKinley was shot in Buffalo. The less experienced physicians treating McKinley wanted the highly esteemed Park to operate on him and sent a special train to Niagara Falls, but Park refused to leave his current patient until the operation was finished, even after being told it was the president who needed his attention. By the time Park returned to Buffalo the other physicians were just finishing up McKinley’s surgery, and he did not participate. McKinley died several days later.

    Many historians believe that McKinley would have survived had Park left Niagara Falls right away and performed the surgery. While that’s a possibility, it is more likely that Park could not have made a difference. McKinley died of pancreatic necrosis, a condition that no physician in 1901 could have prevented, and which still can be fatal today.

    Postscript: after the assassin Leon Czolgosz went to the Hot Squat a couple months later (the wheels of justice turned quickly back then), prison officials decided to destroy his body before burying his coffin in the prison cemetery, in order to deter any fellow anarchists who might decide to dig it up as a sort of relic. They thought quicklime would work, but after a test with a large piece of meat showed unsatisfactory results they instead poured sulfuric acid into the coffin.

  58. Cortes says:
    @Jack D

    I’ve seen video of people ignoring fire right in front of them. And heard of other unvideoed incidents. The account is credible.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  59. prosa123 says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    Forty years ago I dated a nurse who worked there, crazy funny girl. One night I helped her sneak a seventeen your old kid, who had already lost one leg to cancer, out for a night of fun. We brought him to an famous Elmwood Avenue bar where I talked the bartender into serving him his first drinks ever. Took him back, half in the bag. I don’t know and don’t care if my friend did anything else for him that night. He died a couple of weeks later. A toast at the same bar.

    I, for one, hope very much that your friend the nurse actually did more for the young man that evening.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  60. @Jack D

    Not every cop, just the guvna. Entirely plausible. Don’t worry, you were right about no Jewish involvement so beyond your circle of concern.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  61. prosa123 says:
    @Jack D

    Even if you didn’t hear the initial announcement clearly or thought it was a joke, you’re going to notice when 400 people all get up at once and head for the doors. These people were the authors of their own death. They probably figured, ” I don’t smell smoke, it’s a false alarm. I don’t feel like getting up and waiting outside and meanwhile my dinner will get cold. ”

    I have a second job at a Major Home Improvement Retailer. A couple of months ago a forklift operator bumped into an alarm box and set off the fire alarm. It is a very loud alarm. This happened on a Sunday afternoon when the store was crowded, and I was standing at a point which gave me a direct view of the store’s busiest area. Out of the many customers I could see precisely zero headed toward the exits.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  62. Jack D says:
    @Desiderius

    The official verdict was that the fire was not arson, it was an overheated connection from outdated aluminum wiring. GE paid $10 million. (Good luck collecting a judgment from Mafia arsonists). Of course $10 million is chicken feed for supposedly killing 165 people. Nowadays it would be $10 million EACH. Or maybe $2 BILLION each like Baer was just ordered to pay by a jury for giving someone cancer from Roundup even though the EPA says that Roundup is not a carcinogen. Of course the judge may reduce the $2 Billion verdict but still it’s nuts for a jury to throw money around like that.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  63. Jack D says:
    @prosa123

    I’m surprised that people didn’t use it as an opportunity to do undocumented shopping.

  64. Jack D says:
    @Cortes

    It’s credible in that people really are that stupid. You SEE the fire and still you ignore it? What does it take for people to process this information?

    • Replies: @Cortes
  65. Jack D says:
    @J.Ross

    Russian style cigarettes (papirosa) are NOT cigars. The rolling paper is tissue paper thin so that you can see the tobacco color thru them, especially in contrast to the opaque white empty paper tube section, so they give the impression of being cigarillos but they ain’t. I guess the paper doesn’t have to be thick because it doesn’t have to withstand handling.

    The papirosa in the photo were a gift from Stalin to Roosevelt at Yalta. Since papirosa are maybe 2/3 or better empty they must not give a long smoke.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  66. Cortes says:
    @Jack D

    Fairly sure that in

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54426.The_Outlaw_Sea

    many of the dead on the Baltic ferry which capsized are described as ignoring warnings and dawdled to a watery grave.

    Hollywood captures the mentality well in disaster movies. The technician at the nuclear plant sees the inevitable meltdown approach and calls his wife:

    “Hon? Remember what we discussed? Pick up the kids from school and head to your sister’s place [somewhere off-grid about 1000 miles away] . Love you. Go now! NOW!”

    (Shot of wife calling her mother &c. Switch to the wife and kids stuck in traffic jam, escape from disaster impossible…)

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @prosa123
  67. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Jack D

    I misspoke but meant that they trade length for strength.

  68. @Jack D

    Is it really your theory that Jewish people are over-represented among owners of clubs and event locations where fires led to mass deaths because they’re marginally more intelligent?

    First of all, the most deadly fires in the US happened a long time ago, with the most recent in the top 10 being the Beverly Hills club fire in 1977. As this Beverly Hills was in Kentucky, I assume there were no Joos blocking the doors.

    Here’s some stuff to chew on, and if you know for a fact that Abraham Schilling wasn’t Jewish, please post your proof:

    JEFF RUBY (friend and confidant of the Schilling family): “Even while we were trying to figure out the best way out of the (Cabaret) room, I still had my Jack Daniel’s in my hand. But I’ll tell you when I saw the real evidence of it. It was when I saw Scott Schilling, all 350 pounds of him, running for his life towards us.”

    “Entertainment entrepreneur Richard Schilling and his family, from neighboring Newport, had developed the Beverly into an architecturally confusing complex of 54,000 square feet, with 19 rooms on two floors. It was The Place to go not only for a show, but for weddings, awards banquets and all manner of special events.”

    https://dannwoellertthefoodetymologist.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/the-schilling-family-and-their-swanky-supper-clubs/

    ( ^^^ This information is just about to be erased from the internet. )

    The Club was bought from “Cleveland Jewish Mobsters” and put in the name of “Abraham Schilling”

    Thanks to our ‘compliant’ media it’s almost impossible to learn the ‘ethnic’ affiliation of malefactors when they ‘happen to be’ jewish yet when they win awards for one thing or another, it’s the very first thing our media notice.

    “Everything about the Beverly Hills Supper Club received scrutiny: the building construction, the absence of sprinklers, and the lack of an alarm system or emergency training for the staff. Governor Julian Carroll blasted local officials for their supposed lax oversight of the club and then aimed his fire at the Schillings for their “total disregard…for the safety of the patrons.”

    The Mob allegations are nothing more than vague handwaving and in any case the Cleveland Outfit was Italian (and its later days Irish). By 1977 it was a spent force.

    Kleinman – Samuel Tucker(Taubstein) – Louis Rothhopf – Moe Dalitz

    http://67.225.133.110/~gbpprorg/judicial-inc/B;beverly_hills_restaraunt_fire.htm#The%20real%20owners

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_M._Chesley
    “Chesley is a Life Board Member of the NAACP”

    “Chesley was named in a lawsuit related to the settlement of fen-phen litigation in Kentucky. Former clients sued Chesley and three other plaintiffs’ attorneys for allegedly breaching their duties by diverting most of a $200 million settlement fund to themselves with only one third to the plaintiffs.[5] Judge Joseph F. Bamberger approved the settlement, but resigned when it was revealed that he was paid $5000 a month as a director of a charitable entity funded by the settlement and directed by the attorneys.”

    But most of the rest happen (some quite recently, in the 21st century) in other countries such as China and the Philippines. While it is possible that they brought in some Joos to those places to block the exits, I would tend to doubt it.

    Cute inversion. But no one’s claimed that what you call “Joos” were “brought in” to block the exits. Quite the contrary, the “Joos” typically own the places where exits were blocked by people they hired to do their dirty work. Because “Joos” are so intelligent, you see.

    Speaking of, the case in Brazil involved a “Joo” who saved precious money by purchasing cut-rate (and extremely flammable” tent material. Exhibiting, how shall we put it, “total disregard…for the safety of the patrons.”

    All of the above (and much else) because they’re so intelligent.

  69. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Just a little dig at the Parentheses People because that stuff gets a little repetitive and boring, frankly. If people don’t like Jews I sincerely could not give a shit. I live in NYC

    You’re like a Jack D Jr except he doesn’t usually play the “FWP” card.

    • Replies: @Ghost of Bull Moose
  70. @Jack D

    Juries have been doing that throughout my lifetime. My guess is the vast minority of them, but still enough to make the news.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  71. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Cortes

    Chernobyl, the current HBO miniseries, has one Mary Sue and a few writing mistakes, but is overall very good. It depicts a similar situation which actually happened that way: Soviet information compartmentalization had prevented technicians from knowing essential safety facts about their machine. When the disaster first happened, people couldn’t believe it (and made catastrophicaly wrong initial decisions), because they had not been told about a similar power-surge event that had happened earlier in another city, and in fact they had been indoctrinated to believe that this type of reactor simply could not explode.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  72. prosa123 says:
    @Cortes

    If you mean the sinking of the MV Estonia in 1994, there were very few if any warnings for anyone to have disregarded. It sank because the bow doors used for vehicle loading somehow became dislodged. Huge amounts of water poured in, and within a couple of minutes the ferry was listing at such a sharp angle that it was very difficult for anyone to escape from the below-decks passenger areas. Survivors had to climb out using the staircase handrails as a sort of monkey bars. Doing so was so physically demanding, with so much sheer brute force required, that most of the survivors were physically fit younger men, with the ship being a deathtrap for women and older men.

    A seemingly odd result is that even though the passengers were about evenly divided between people from Sweden and from Estonia, the Estonians had a significantly higher survival rate. In part this was due to the nature of the Estonian economy. While Estonia is a prosperous country today, in 1994 it was just a few years past Soviet control and had a weak economy. Many Estonians traveled to Scandinavia to find work, and this ferry was popular among them due to the reasonably priced tickets. Not surprisingly, younger men comprised the main part of these economic migrants. As for the Swedish passengers, many of them were older couples who used the ferry as a sort of recreational cruise. They weren’t physically able to escape no matter how hard they may have tried.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  73. Cortes says:
    @prosa123

    Thank you.

    I’m happy to accept your comments. My only knowledge of the dreadful accident is from that book. If I’ve misremembered so be it.

  74. lavoisier says: • Website

    Truly great men who changed the world for the better.

    A lot of significant medical talent coming from the Jews.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  75. Eagle Eye says:
    @Olorin

    It is conceivable that at least some cancers (like mitochondria) started out as a virus that integrated itself into the human genome where it (mostly) remains dormant.

    One indication supporting this view is the ability of some cancers to neutralize the operation of T cells that would otherwise attack the affected cells.

  76. Jack D says:
    @Barnard

    In Japan until very recently maybe even still this was the norm.

  77. @prosa123

    prosa, she was one of the funniest, most fun dates ever, but we weren’t a soul match. I still smile when I think of that night.

  78. Anonymous[193] • Disclaimer says:
    @Barnard

    Part of the reason we still have poor progress on cancer is that money we should spend on cancer research is spent on squaring the circle-i.e., trying to educate people with low IQs and or no future time orientation or interest in learning-and making a phalanx of educrats wealthy.

    Another part is that the insurance companies and drug makers are making piles of money under the status quo. I’m guessing that if a cure were the only way they were going to make money they’d find one somewhat sooner.

    I suspect that cancer research is mostly done by an insular crew with stubbornly held but at least somewhat wrong ideas. I suspect real progress will happen by accident when some “outsider” is able to sneak his discovery in under the radar and it will explode in a way the cancer authorities can’t stop it.

  79. Another part is that the insurance companies and drug makers are making piles of money under the status quo. I’m guessing that if a cure were the only way they were going to make money they’d find one somewhat sooner.

    Cancer is hard. And drug development is extremely expensive.

    They came up with an almost 100% cure for Hep C. 12 weeks and the patient is completely symptom-free for good. The price? Tens of thousands per course of treatment. Now, people are always complaining about high drug costs. They point to the fact that a particular drug cost maybe $1b to develop, and the drug company is racking up $5 in profits. But here’s the thing – what about the 20 other drugs they were working on that failed to pan out? The winners pay for the losers. Companies are working on a lot of drugs simultaneously for different ailments. A lot of these drugs fail or are even harmful to patients. If you cut down on the the profits for the successful drugs, thereby shafting investors, no one will invest in drug companies. Patients will die waiting for the lucky discoveries that come along once every few decades, rather than the fairly clockwork-like once every few years, which is what we have today.

  80. MBlanc46 says:

    White and (((white))) guys did amazing, almost unbelievable, things from the (say) fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. Then we let a bunch of malcontents convince us that we were evil and the source of all the world’s troubles. What more might we have accomplished if only we’d told them to eff off or else.

  81. @Barnard

    The elites get cancer as well. It doesn’t discriminate vs. IQ, ethnicity, etc.

  82. @Bernie

    How does one smoke 6 packs a day? He must have been chain-smoking from the time he woke up until he went to bed at night.

    When I was a young lad I smoked 4+ packs a day. Hard to find time for six without serious sleep deprivation. Perhaps they were unfiltered which burn faster?

  83. Jack D says:
    @J.Ross

    What happened at Chernobyl went beyond just compartmentalization and scientific disbelief that an explosion was possible. The entire Soviet Union was built on lies and denial of reality by their ruling class from top to bottom – their natural response to any problem (and their were many) was to lie, to deny, to cover up, etc. because reality would make them look bad and might endanger their rule/jobs. If this meant that people had to die, well you gotta break some eggs to make an omelet. This was partly due to Russia’s deeply rooted non-Western face based culture (we still see this today with the guys who poisoned Skirpal giving their ridiculously unbelievable interview and in Czarist times you had the Potemkin village) but the Communists made it much worse. The Soviet Union could not be seen as inferior to the West (even though it was in a 1,000 ways) so any fact that portrayed it in that light had to be denied.

    We haven’t quite reached that point in the US but we are getting close on questions of race and gender. Once you have to start molding your reality to fit the dogma rather vice versa, you are in deep trouble.

    • Agree: JMcG
  84. Jack D says:
    @Johann Ricke

    If you look at where drug companies actually spend their money, it is mostly on marketing, not so much on R&D. The ads you see on TV are just the tip of the iceberg – they spend massive amounts wooing the doctors one by one. Many popular drugs were not developed in-house by big pharma but in some obscure 3rd world place and then when the drug appears to be effective, the marketing giants license the drug and jack up the prices. Then when the patent is about to run out, they come up with a slight variation (the metabolite of the original drug or the left hand form) and they try to get the doctors to switch everyone to the new version instead of the generic of the old one.

    • Replies: @Benjaminl
  85. @Johann Ricke

    “Now, people are always complaining about high drug costs. They point to the fact that a particular drug cost maybe $1b to develop, and the drug company is racking up $5 in profits. But here’s the thing – what about the 20 other drugs they were working on that failed to pan out.”

    Here’s the thing though. Over time, however, the successful drugs that prove most effective should, in theory, be reduced in total cost to the patient. In other words, after a decade or so, an effective drug shouldn’t cost more but less than it originally cost for consumers. This is due in large part because:

    1. Suppose there were a cancer drug that could 100% effectively treat the disease, period. Take the drug for a specified amount of time, and its completely gone. Initially the cost to purchase the drug and undergo the treatments would be prohibitive. But over time, as more and more patients hear about the treatment and sign up for it, in theory the overall cost should come down. Especially since a generic (and cheaper) form of the drug would no doubt hit the market within a few years.

    This generally happens in the world of technology. New computers, TV’s, etc tend to cost a ton when they first come out but over time, their overall cost comes down. So this should be the case for the new drug/treatment that has been shown to successfully treat a major disease. It shouldn’t still cost ridiculous amounts 10, 15, 20 yrs after its initial drop on the market, especially since by that time numerous generic brands have hit the mainstream as well.

    Eventually, the overall cost of the drug should come down since by that time the total cost of the drug for investors has been recouped. The profits are quite nice and fat after 20 yrs. Come on. Reduce the cost like everything else does in society, or the consumers will simply go with the generic form which will be just as effective at a much fairer price.

    Also, the drug companies can’t charge too high for their wonderdrug or not enough people will afford to purchase it. So they’ll have no choice but to eventually lower the price. Another example is of the painkillers that were promised work miracles, like Oxycontin. It worked miracles all right: It helped contribute to the White Death and opioid mess. An example of an overhyped drug that didn’t live up to its promised results.

  86. Benjaminl says:
    @Jack D

    Slatestarcodex just posted this funny photo essay about the psychiatrists’ convention:

    https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/05/22/the-apa-meeting-a-photo-essay/

    I assume most fields of medicine are pretty similar.

  87. @Redneck farmer

    Given that I’ve two old friends who are both presently dying from cancer, I’m afraid I still lower my voice when speaking of it.

  88. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    It’s quite simple: the Jews don’t really believe in an afterlife. Therefore “immortality’ for them is one’s name plastered over every building or wall in sight.

  89. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Not OT:

    The US just approved a new treatment for a devastating disease that costs $2.1 million. It’s the most expensive drug in the world.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/novartis-drug-zolgensma-for-spinal-muscular-atrophy-wins-fda-approval-2019-5

    The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a cutting-edge new treatment for a devastating rare genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy.

    The treatment, Zolgensma, made by Novartis’ AveXis unit, is a one-time therapy that works to treat the disease at the genetic level. That means the drug’s effects should last a long time, though it’s still not known whether the treatment is permanent.

    Read more: Drugs that cost as much as a house are on the way to treat rare and devastating diseases. The US is scrambling to figure out how to pay for them.

    Novartis priced the product at $2.125 million, or $425,000 a year if paid over a five-year installment plan. The $2.125 million price tag makes Zolgensma the most expensive drug in the world.

    On a conference call with reporters on Friday, Novartis executives called the price tag fair and reasonable, citing the value the treatment will deliver for patients.
    ‘A lifetime of possibilities’

    “Zolgensma could create a lifetime of possibilities for the children and families impacted by this devastating condition,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement.

    Spinal muscular atrophy affects an estimated 10,0

    Cows get fed. Pigs get slaughtered.

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