Legumes, lemons and streptomycin: A short history of the clinical trial

Collier, Roger
January 2009
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;1/6/2009, Vol. 180 Issue 1, p23
Academic Journal
The article presents a history of clinical trials through a discussion of trials conducted on legumes, lemons, and streptomycin. It discusses the first documented experiment similar to a clinical trial, conducted by King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled Babylon during the 500s BC. It states that the first person to conduct a parallel-arm medical experiment was British physician Dr. James Lind, who is considered to be the father of the clinical trial. It explores the emergence of placebo, which was used by U.S. physician Austin Flint in 1863, as an important aspect of the contemporary clinical trial. The article also discusses blinding in clinical trials, randomized trials, and the contributions of British statistician Austin Bradford Hill on the development of the contemporary clinical trial.


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