EDWARD JENNER by Irmengarde Eheris


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The lag between scientific discovery and practical application in the field of medicine is clearly demonstrated in this interesting biography of Edward Jenner. The sporadic epidemics of smallpox that swept through 18th century England affected every household. Though Edward was not victimized himself, he was forced to endure a primitive and painful inoculation procedure from which he never fully recovered. This experience plus an innate scientific curiosity led him first to a surgical apprenticeship under John Hunter, a practice of his own, and then to an investigation of the relationship between cowpox and smallpox. With the help of local milkmaids and shepherds, Jenner established beyond doubt the validity of a cowpox inoculation in preventing the dread disease. So convinced was he of these findings, that he inoculated his own newborn son. Jenner's struggle with prevailing medical opinion ended in victory during his own lifetime. Not particularly lively in style, this book nevertheless can be useful to students interested in the logical sequence of Jenner's trial and error research and the frustrating obstacles imposed by public opinion.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1962
Publisher: Watts