Friday, February 08, 2008

The march of science

Of John Kanzius' discovery that radio waves kill cancers, Oz Drummond writes:
Unfortunately, the medical community will probably pooh-pooh this research, much as they did the man who proved that ulcers are caused by bacteria.
Point taken, but skepticism in the absence of evidence that can be duplicated in the lab is not a bad thing. Once that evidence is duplicated, the paradigm (to use Thomas Kuhn's term) tends to shift quickly. In the case of Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, a mere 23 years from discovery of the ulcer-bacteria link to the Nobel Prize in medicine ain't bad. (Granted, H. pylori had been discovered in 1899, then forgotten for generations, partially because its discoverer wrote it up in Polish.)

My friend and onetime colleague Lex Alexander, who covers medicine for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., notes that similar work is being done, quite successfully, by Dr. Ronald Zagoria in Winston-Salem. I'm delighted to know this -- but I'm still slightly more impressed by Kanzius. You're more likely to expect such things from Zagoria since he is, after all, a doctor.

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