Human medical experimentation in the United States: The shocking true history of modern medicine and psychiatry (1833-1965)
by: Dani Veracity
The United States claims to be the world leader in medicine. But there’s a dark side to western medicine that few want to acknowledge: The horrifying medical experiments performed on impoverished people and their children all in the name of scientific progress. Many of these medical experiments were conducted on people without their knowledge, and most were conducted as part of an effort to seek profits from newly approved drugs or medical technologies.
Today, the medical experiments continue on the U.S. population and its children. From the mass drugging of children diagnosed with fictitious behavioral disorders invented by psychiatry to the FDA’s approval of mass-marketed drugs that have undergone no legitimate clinical trials, our population is right now being subjected to medical experiments on a staggering scale. Today, nearly 50% of Americans are on a least one prescription drug, and nearly 20% of school children are on mind-altering amphetamines like Ritalin or antidepressants like Prozac. This mass medication of our nation is, in every way, a grand medical experiment taking place right now.
But to truly understand how this mass experimentation on modern Americans came into being, you have to take a close look at the horrifying history of conventional medicine’s exploitation of people for cruel medical experiments.
WARNING: What you are about to read is truly shocking. You have never been told this information by the American Medical Association, nor drug companies, nor the evening news. You were never taught the truth about conventional medicine in public school, or even at any university. This is the dark secret of the U.S. system of medicine, and once you read the true accounts reported here, you may never trust drug companies again. These images are deeply disturbing. We print them here not as a form of entertainment, but as a stern warning against what might happen to us and our children if we do not rein in the horrifying, inhumane actions of Big Pharma and modern-day psychiatry.
Now, I introduce this shocking timeline, researched and authored by Dani Veracity, one of our many talented staff writers here at Truth Publishing.
Read at your own risk. – The Health Ranger
The true U.S. history of human medical experimentation
Human experimentation — that is, subjecting live human beings to science experiments that are sometimes cruel, sometimes painful, sometimes deadly and always a risk — is a major part of U.S. history that you won’t find in most history or science books. The United States is undoubtedly responsible for some of the most amazing scientific breakthroughs. These advancements, especially in the field of medicine, have changed the lives of billions of people around the world — sometimes for the better, as in the case of finding a cure for malaria and other epidemic diseases, and sometimes for the worse (consider modern “psychiatry” and the drugging of schoolchildren).
However, these breakthroughs come with a hefty price tag: The human beings used in the experiments that made these advancements possible. Over the last two centuries, some of these test subjects have been compensated for the damage done to their emotional and physical health, but most have not. Many have lost their lives because of the experiments they often unwillingly and sometimes even unwittingly participated in, and they of course can never be compensated for losing their most precious possession of all: Their health.
As you read through these science experiments, you’ll learn the stories of newborns injected with radioactive substances, mentally ill people placed in giant refrigerators, military personnel exposed to chemical weapons by the very government they served and mentally challenged children being purposely infected with hepatitis. These stories are facts, not fiction: Each account, no matter how horrifying, is backed up with a link or citation to a reputable source.
These stories must be heard because human experimentation is still going on today. The reasons behind the experiments may be different, but the usual human guinea pigs are still the same — members of minority groups, the poor and the disadvantaged. These are the lives that were put on the line in the name of “scientific” medicine.
Dr. William Beaumont, an army surgeon physician, pioneers gastric medicine with his study of a patient with a permanently open gunshot wound to the abdomen and writes a human medical experimentation code that asserts the importance of experimental treatments, but also lists requirements stipulating that human subjects must give voluntary, informed consent and be able to end the experiment when they want. Beaumont’s Code lists verbal, rather than just written, consent as permissible (Berdon).
(1845 – 1849) J. Marion Sims, later hailed as the “father of gynecology,” performs medical experiments on enslaved African women without anesthesia. These women would usually die of infection soon after surgery. Based on his belief that the movement of newborns’ skull bones during protracted births causes trismus, he also uses a shoemaker’s awl, a pointed tool shoemakers use to make holes in leather, to practice moving the skull bones of babies born to enslaved mothers (Brinker).
New York pediatrician Henry Heiman infects a 4-year-old boy whom he calls “an idiot with chronic epilepsy” with gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).
Dr. Arthur Wentworth turns 29 children at Boston’s Children’s Hospital into human guinea pigs when he performs spinal taps on them, just to test whether the procedure is harmful (Sharav).
U.S Army doctors working in the Philippines infect five Filipino prisoners with plague and withhold proper nutrition to create Beriberi in 29 prisoners; four test subjects die (Merritte, et al.; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
Under commission from the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Walter Reed goes to Cuba and uses 22 Spanish immigrant workers to prove that yellow fever is contracted through mosquito bites. Doing so, he introduces the practice of using healthy test subjects, and also the concept of a written contract to confirm informed consent of these subjects. While doing this study, Dr. Reed clearly tells the subjects that, though he will do everything he can to help them, they may die as a result of the experiment. He pays them $100 in gold for their participation, plus $100 extra if they contract yellow fever (Berdon, Sharav).
Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors cite this study to justify their own medical experiments (Greger, Sharav).
Dr. Hideyo Noguchi of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research publishes data on injecting an inactive syphilis preparation into the skin of 146 hospital patients and normal children in an attempt to develop a skin test for syphilis. Later, in 1913, several of these children’s parents sue Dr. Noguchi for allegedly infecting their children with syphilis (“Reviews and Notes: History of Medicine: Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War”).
Medical experimenters “test” 15 children at the children’s home St. Vincent’s House in Philadelphia with tuberculin, resulting in permanent blindness in some of the children. Though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives records the incident, the researchers are not punished for the experiments (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).
Dr. Joseph Goldberger, under order of the U.S. Public Health Office, produces Pellagra, a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, in 12 Mississippi inmates to try to find a cure for the disease. One test subject later says that he had been through “a thousand hells.” In 1935, after millions die from the disease, the director of the U.S Public Health Office would finally admit that officials had known that it was caused by a niacin deficiency for some time, but did nothing about it because it mostly affected poor African-Americans. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors used this study to try to justify their medical experiments on concentration camp inmates (Greger; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
In response to the Germans’ use of chemical weapons during World War I, President Wilson creates the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) as a branch of the U.S. Army. Twenty-four years later, in 1942, the CWS would begin performing mustard gas and lewisite experiments on over 4,000 members of the armed forces (Global Security, Goliszek).
(1919 – 1922) Researchers perform testicular transplant experiments on inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California, inserting the testicles of recently executed inmates and goats into the abdomens and scrotums of living prisoners (Greger).
Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them die. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients (Sharav; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
(1931 – 1933) Mental patients at Elgin State Hospital in Illinois are injected with radium-266 as an experimental therapy for mental illness (Goliszek).
(1932-1972) The U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Ala. diagnoses 400 poor, black sharecroppers with syphilis but never tells them of their illness nor treats them; instead researchers use the men as human guinea pigs to follow the symptoms and progression of the disease. They all eventually die from syphilis and their families are never told that they could have been treated (Goliszek, University of Virginia Health System Health Sciences Library).
Scientists at Cornell University Medical School publish an angina drug study that uses both placebo and blind assessment techniques on human test subjects. They discover that the subjects given the placebo experienced more of an improvement in symptoms than those who were given the actual drug. This is first account of the placebo effect published in the United States (“Placebo Effect”).
In order to test his theory on the roots of stuttering, prominent speech pathologist Dr. Wendell Johnson performs his famous “Monster Experiment” on 22 children at the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home in Davenport. Dr. Johnson and his graduate students put the children under intense psychological pressure, causing them to switch from speaking normally to stuttering heavily. At the time, some of the students reportedly warn Dr. Johnson that, “in the aftermath of World War II, observers might draw comparisons to Nazi experiments on human subjects, which could destroy his career” (Alliance for Human Research Protection).
Dr. William C. Black infects a 12-month-old baby with herpes as part of a medical experiment. At the time, the editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Francis Payton Rous, calls it “an abuse of power, an infringement of the rights of an individual, and not excusable because the illness which followed had implications for science” (Sharav).
An article in a 1941 issue of Archives of Pediatrics describes medical studies of the severe gum disease Vincent’s angina in which doctors transmit the disease from sick children to healthy children with oral swabs (Goliszek).
Drs. Francis and Salk and other researchers at the University of Michigan spray large amounts of wild influenza virus directly into the nasal passages of “volunteers” from mental institutions in Michigan. The test subjects develop influenza within a very short period of time (Meiklejohn).
Researchers give 800 poverty-stricken pregnant women at a Vanderbilt University prenatal clinic “cocktails” including radioactive iron in order to determine the iron requirements of pregnant women (Pacchioli).
The United States creates Fort Detrick, a 92-acre facility, employing nearly 500 scientists working to create biological weapons and develop defensive measures against them. Fort Detrick’s main objectives include investigating whether diseases are transmitted by inhalation, digestion or through skin absorption; of course, these biological warfare experiments heavily relied on the use of human subjects (Goliszek).
U.S. Army and Navy doctors infect 400 prison inmates in Chicago with malaria to study the disease and hopefully develop a treatment for it. The prisoners are told that they are helping the war effort, but not that they are going to be infected with malaria. During Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors later cite this American study to defend their own medical experiments in concentration camps like Auschwitz (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
The Chemical Warfare Service begins mustard gas and lewisite experiments on 4,000 members of the U.S. military. Some test subjects don’t realize they are volunteering for chemical exposure experiments, like 17-year-old Nathan Schnurman, who in 1944 thinks he is only volunteering to test “U.S. Navy summer clothes” (Goliszek).
In an experiment sponsored by the U.S. Navy, Harvard biochemist Edward Cohn injects 64 inmates of Massachusetts state prisons with cow’s blood (Sharav).
Merck Pharmaceuticals President George Merck is named director of the War Research Service (WRS), an agency designed to oversee the establishment of a biological warfare program (Goliszek).
In order to “study the effect of frigid temperature on mental disorders,” researchers at University of Cincinnati Hospital keep 16 mentally disabled patients in refrigerated cabinets for 120 hours at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (Sharav).
As part of the Manhattan Project that would eventually create the atomic bomb, researchers inject 4.7 micrograms of plutonium into soldiers at the Oak Ridge facility, 20 miles west of Knoxville, Tenn. (“Manhattan Project: Oak Ridge”).
Captain A. W. Frisch, an experienced microbiologist, begins experiments on four volunteers from the state prison at Dearborn, Mich., inoculating prisoners with hepatitis-infected specimens obtained in North Africa. One prisoner dies; two others develop hepatitis but live; the fourth develops symptoms but does not actually develop the disease (Meiklejohn).
Laboratory workers at the University of Minnesota and University of Chicago inject human test subjects with phosphorus-32 to learn the metabolism of hemoglobin (Goliszek).
(1944 – 1946) In order to quickly develop a cure for malaria — a disease hindering Allied success in World War II — University of Chicago Medical School professor Dr. Alf Alving infects psychotic patients at Illinois State Hospital with the disease through blood transfusions and then experiments malaria cures on them (Sharav).
A captain in the medical corps addresses an April 1944 memo to Col. Stanford Warren, head of the Manhattan Project’s Medical Section, expressing his concerns about atom bomb component fluoride’s central nervous system (CNS) effects and asking for animal research to be done to determine the extent of these effects: “Clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect … It seems most likely that the F [code for fluoride] component rather than the T [code for uranium] is the causative factor … Since work with these compounds is essential, it will be necessary to know in advance what mental effects may occur after exposure.” The following year, the Manhattan Project would begin human-based studies on fluoride’s effects (Griffiths and Bryson).
The Manhattan Project medical team, led by the now infamous University of Rochester radiologist Col. Safford Warren, injects plutonium into patients at the University’s teaching hospital, Strong Memorial (Burton Report).
Continuing the Manhattan Project, researchers inject plutonium into three patients at the University of Chicago’s Billings Hospital (Sharav).
The U.S. State Department, Army intelligence and the CIA begin Operation Paperclip, offering Nazi scientists immunity and secret identities in exchange for work on top-secret government projects on aerodynamics and chemical warfare medicine in the United States (“Project Paperclip”).
Researchers infect 800 prisoners in Atlanta with malaria to study the disease (Sharav).
(1945 – 1955) In Newburgh, N.Y., researchers linked to the Manhattan Project begin the most extensive American study ever done on the health effects of fluoridating public drinking water (Griffiths and Bryson).
Gen. Douglas MacArthur strikes a secret deal with Japanese physician Dr. Shiro Ishii to turn over 10,000 pages of information gathered from human experimentation in exchange for granting Ishii immunity from prosecution for the horrific experiments he performed on Chinese, Russian and American war prisoners, including performing vivisections on live human beings (Goliszek, Sharav).
Male and female test subjects at Chicago’s Argonne National Laboratories are given intravenous injections of arsenic-76 so that researchers can study how the human body absorbs, distributes and excretes arsenic (Goliszek).
Continuing the Newburg study of 1945, the Manhattan Project commissions the University of Rochester to study fluoride’s effects on animals and humans in a project codenamed “Program F.” With the help of the New York State Health Department, Program F researchers secretly collect and analyze blood and tissue samples from Newburg residents. The studies are sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission and take place at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Memorial Hospital (Griffiths and Bryson).
(1946 – 1947) University of Rochester researchers inject four male and two female human test subjects with uranium-234 and uranium-235 in dosages ranging from 6.4 to 70.7 micrograms per one kilogram of body weight in order to study how much uranium they could tolerate before their kidneys become damaged (Goliszek).
Six male employees of a Chicago metallurgical laboratory are given water contaminated with plutonium-239 to drink so that researchers can learn how plutonium is absorbed into the digestive tract (Goliszek).
Researchers begin using patients in VA hospitals as test subjects for human medical experiments, cleverly worded as “investigations” or “observations” in medical study reports to avoid negative connotations and bad publicity (Sharav).
The American public finally learns of the biowarfare experiments being done at Fort Detrick from a report released by the War Department (Goliszek).
(1946 – 1953) The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission sponsors studies in which researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston University School of Medicine feed mentally disabled students at Fernald State School Quaker Oats breakfast cereal spiked with radioactive tracers every morning so that nutritionists can study how preservatives move through the human body and if they block the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Later, MIT researchers conduct the same study at Wrentham State School (Sharav, Goliszek).
Human test subjects are given one to four injections of arsenic-76 at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine. Researchers take tissue biopsies from the subjects before and after the injections (Goliszek).
Col. E.E. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) issues a top-secret document (707075) dated Jan. 8. In it, he writes that “certain radioactive substances are being prepared for intravenous administration to human subjects as a part of the work of the contract” (Goliszek).
A secret AEC document dated April 17 reads, “It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans that might have an adverse reaction on public opinion or result in legal suits,” revealing that the U.S. government was aware of the health risks its nuclear tests posed to military personnel conducting the tests or nearby civilians (Goliszek).
The CIA begins studying LSD’s potential as a weapon by using military and civilian test subjects for experiments without their consent or even knowledge. Eventually, these LSD studies will evolve into the MKULTRA program in 1953 (Sharav).
(1947 – 1953) The U.S. Navy begins Project Chatter to identify and test so-called “truth serums,” such as those used by the Soviet Union to interrogate spies. Mescaline and the central nervous system depressant scopolamine are among the many drugs tested on human subjects (Goliszek).
Based on the secret studies performed on Newburgh, N.Y. residents beginning in 1945, Project F researchers publish a report in the August 1948 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association, detailing fluoride’s health dangers. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) quickly censors it for “national security” reasons (Griffiths and Bryson).
(1950 – 1953) The CIA and later the Office of Scientific Intelligence begin Project Bluebird (renamed Project Artichoke in 1951) in order to find ways to “extract” information from CIA agents, control individuals “through special interrogation techniques,” “enhance memory” and use “unconventional techniques, including hypnosis and drugs” for offensive measures (Goliszek).
(1950 – 1953) The U.S. Army releases chemical clouds over six American and Canadian cities. Residents in Winnipeg, Canada, where a highly toxic chemical called cadmium is dropped, subsequently experience high rates of respiratory illnesses (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
In order to determine how susceptible an American city could be to biological attack, the U.S. Navy sprays a cloud of Bacillus globigii bacteria from ships over the San Francisco shoreline. According to monitoring devices situated throughout the city to test the extent of infection, the eight thousand residents of San Francisco inhale five thousand or more bacteria particles, many becoming sick with pneumonia-like symptoms (Goliszek).
Dr. Joseph Strokes of the University of Pennsylvania infects 200 female prisoners with viral hepatitis to study the disease (Sharav).
Doctors at the Cleveland City Hospital study changes in cerebral blood flow by injecting test subjects with spinal anesthesia, inserting needles in their jugular veins and brachial arteries, tilting their heads down and, after massive blood loss causes paralysis and fainting, measuring their blood pressure. They often perform this experiment multiple times on the same subject (Goliszek).
Dr. D. Ewen Cameron, later of MKULTRA infamy due to his 1957 to1964 experiments on Canadians, publishes an article in the British Journal of Physical Medicine, in which he describes experiments that entail forcing schizophrenic patients at Manitoba’s Brandon Mental Hospital to lie naked under 15- to 200-watt red lamps for up to eight hours per day. His other experiments include placing mental patients in an electric cage that overheats their internal body temperatures to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and inducing comas by giving patients large injections of insulin (Goliszek).
The U.S. Navy’s Project Bluebird is renamed Project Artichoke and begins human medical experiments that test the effectiveness of LSD, sodium pentothal and hypnosis for the interrogative purposes described in Project Bluebird’s objectives (1950) (Goliszek).
The U.S. Army secretly contaminates the Norfolk Naval Supply Center in Virginia and Washington, D.C.’s National Airport with a strain of bacteria chosen because African-Americans were believed to be more susceptible to it than Caucasians. The experiment causes food poisoning, respiratory problems and blood poisoning (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
(1951 – 1952) Researchers withhold insulin from diabetic patients for up to two days in order to observe the effects of diabetes; some test subjects go into diabetic comas (Goliszek).
(1951 – 1956) Under contract with the Air Force’s School of Aviation Medicine (SAM), the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston begins studying the effects of radiation on cancer patients — many of them members of minority groups or indigents, according to sources — in order to determine both radiation’s ability to treat cancer and the possible long-term radiation effects of pilots flying nuclear-powered planes. The study lasts until 1956, involving 263 cancer patients. Beginning in 1953, the subjects are required to sign a waiver form, but it still does not meet the informed consent guidelines established by the Wilson memo released that year. The TBI studies themselves would continue at four different institutions — Baylor University College of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine — until 1971 (U.S. Department of Energy, Goliszek).
American, Canadian and British military and intelligence officials gather a small group of eminent psychologists to a secret meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal about Communist “thought-control techniques.” They proposed a top-secret research program on behavior modification — involving testing drugs, hypnosis, electroshock and lobotomies on humans (Barker).
Military scientists use the Dugway Proving Ground — which is located 87 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah — in a series of experiments to determine how Brucella suis and Brucella melitensis spread in human populations. Today, over a half-century later, some experts claim that we are all infected with these agents as a result of these experiments (Goliszek).
In a U.S. Department of Denfense-sponsored experiment, Henry Blauer dies after he is injected with mescaline at Columbia University’s New York State Psychiatric Institute (Sharav).
At the famous Sloan-Kettering Institute, Chester M. Southam injects live cancer cells into prisoners at the Ohio State Prison to study the progression of the disease. Half of the prisoners in this National Institutes of Health-sponsored (NIH) study are black, awakening racial suspicions stemming from Tuskegee, which was also an NIH-sponsored study (Merritte, et al.).
(1953 – 1970) The CIA begins project MKNAOMI to “stockpile incapacitating and lethal materials, to develop gadgetry for the disseminations of these materials, and to test the effects of certain drugs on animals and humans.” As part of MKNAOMI, the CIA and the Special Operations Division of the Army Biological Laboratory at Fort Detrick try to develop two suicide pill alternatives to the standard cyanide suicide pill given to CIA agents and U-2 pilots. CIA agents and U-2 pilots are meant to take these pills when they find themselves in situations in which they (and all the information they hold in their brains) are in enemy hands. They also develop a “microbioinoculator” — a device that agents can use to fire small darts coated with biological agents that can remain potent for weeks or even months. These darts can be fired through clothing and, most significantly, are undetectable during autopsy. Eventually, by the late 1960s, MKNAOMI enables the CIA to have a stockpile of biological toxins — infectious viruses, paralytic shellfish toxin, lethal botulism toxin, snake venom and the severe skin disease-producing agent Mircosporum gypseum. Of course, the development of all of this “gadgetry” requires human experimentation (Goliszek).
(1953 – 1974) CIA Director Allen Dulles authorizes the MKULTRA program to produce and test drugs and biological agents that the CIA could use for mind control and behavior modification. MKULTRA later becomes well known for its pioneering studies on LSD, which are often performed on prisoners or patrons of brothels set up and run by the CIA. The brothel experiments, known as “Operation Midnight Climax,” feature two-way mirrors set up in the brothels so that CIA agents can observe LSD’s effects on sexual behavior. Ironically, governmental figures sometimes slip LSD into each other’s drinks as part of the program, resulting in the LSD psychosis-induced suicide of Dr. Frank Olson indirectly at the hands of MKULTRA’s infamous key player Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. Of all the hundreds of human test subjects used during MKULTRA, only 14 are ever notified of the involvement and only one is ever compensated ($15,000). Most of the MKULTRA files are eventually destroyed in 1973 (Elliston; Merritte, et al.; Barker).
The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) sponsors iodine studies at the University of Iowa. In the first study, researchers give pregnant women 100 to 200 microcuries of iodine-131 and then study the women’s aborted embryos in order to learn at what stage and to what extent radioactive iodine crosses the placental barrier. In the second study, researchers give 12 male and 13 female newborns under 36 hours old and weighing between 5.5 and 8.5 pounds iodine-131 either orally or via intramuscular injection, later measuring the concentration of iodine in the newborns’ thyroid glands (Goliszek).
Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson issues the Wilson memo, a top-secret document establishing the Nuremberg Code as Department of Defense policy on human experimentation. The Wilson memo requires voluntary, written consent from a human medical research subject after he or she has been informed of “the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.” It also insists that doctors only use experimental treatments when other methods have failed (Berdon).
As part of an AEC study, researchers feed 28 healthy infants at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine iodine-131 through a gastric tube and then test concentration of iodine in the infants’ thyroid glands 24 hours later (Goliszek).
(1953 – 1957) Eleven patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are injected with uranium as part of the Manhattan Project (Sharav).
In an AEC-sponsored study at the University of Tennessee, researchers inject healthy two- to three-day-old newborns with approximately 60 rads of iodine-131 (Goliszek).
Newborn Daniel Burton becomes blind when physicians at Brooklyn Doctors Hospital perform an experimental high oxygen treatment for Retrolental Fibroplasia, a retinal disorder affecting premature infants, on him and other premature babies. The physicians perform the experimental treatment despite earlier studies showing that high oxygen levels cause blindness. Testimony in Burton v. Brooklyn Doctors Hospital (452 N.Y.S.2d875) later reveals that researchers continued to give Burton and other infants excess oxygen even after their eyes had swelled to dangerous levels (Goliszek, Sharav).
The CIA begins Project MKDELTA to study the use of biochemicals “for harassment, discrediting and disabling purposes” (Goliszek).
A 1953 article in Clinical Science describes a medical experiment in which researchers purposely blister the abdomens of 41 children, ranging in age from eight to 14, with cantharide in order to study how severely the substance irritates the skin (Goliszek).
The AEC performs a series of field tests known as “Green Run,” dropping radiodine 131 and xenon 133 over the Hanford, Wash. site — 500,000 acres encompassing three small towns (Hanford, White Bluffs and Richland) along the Columbia River (Sharav).
In an AEC-sponsored study to learn whether radioactive iodine affects premature babies differently from full-term babies, researchers at Harper Hospital in Detroit give oral doses of iodine-131 to 65 premature and full-term infants weighing between 2.1 and 5.5 pounds (Goliszek).
The CIA begins Project QKHILLTOP to study Chinese Communist Party brainwashing techniques and use them to further the CIA’s own interrogative methods. Most experts speculate that the Cornell University Medical School Human Ecology Studies Program conducted Project QKHILLTOP’s early experiments (Goliszek).
(1954 – 1975) U.S. Air Force medical officers assigned to Fort Detrick’s Chemical Corps Biological Laboratory begin Operation Whitecoat — experiments involving exposing human test subjects to hepatitis A, plague, yellow fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, rickettsia and intestinal microbes. These test subjects include 2,300 Seventh Day Adventist military personnel, who choose to become human guinea pigs rather than potentially kill others in combat. Only two of the 2,300 claim long-term medical complications from participating in the study (“Operation Whitecoat”.)
In a general memo to university researchers under contract with the military, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army asserts the human experimentation guidelines — including informed, written consent — established in the classified Wilson memo (Goliszek).
In U.S. Army-sponsored experiments performed at Tulane University, mental patients are given LSD and other drugs and then have electrodes implanted in their brain to measure the levels (Barker, “The Cold War Experiments”).
(1955 – 1957) In order to learn how cold weather affects human physiology, researchers give a total of 200 doses of iodine-131, a radioactive tracer that concentrates almost immediately in the thyroid gland, to 85 healthy Eskimos and 17 Athapascan Indians living in Alaska. They study the tracer within the body by blood, thyroid tissue, urine and saliva samples from the test subjects. Due to the language barrier, no one tells the test subjects what is being done to them, so there is no informed consent (Goliszek).
(1955 – 1965) As a result of their work with the CIA’s mind control experiments in Project QKHILLTOP, Cornell neurologists Harold Wolff and Lawrence Hinkle begin the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (later renamed the Human Ecology Fund) to study “man’s relation to his social environment as perceived by him” (Goliszek).
(1956 – 1957) U.S. Army covert biological weapons researchers release mosquitoes infected with yellow fever and dengue fever over Savannah, Ga., and Avon Park, Fla., to test the insects’ ability to carry disease. After each test, Army agents pose as public health officials to test victims for effects and take pictures of the unwitting test subjects. These experiments result in a high incidence of fevers, respiratory distress, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid among the two cities’ residents, as well as several deaths (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).
The U.S. military conducts Operation Plumbbob at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Operation Pumbbob consists of 29 nuclear detonations, eventually creating radiation expected to result in a total 32,000 cases of thyroid cancer among civilians in the area. Around 18,000 members of the U.S. military participate in Operation Pumbbob’s Desert Rock VII and VIII, which are designed to see how the average foot soldier physiologically and mentally responds to a nuclear battlefield (“Operation Plumbbob”, Goliszek).
(1957 – 1964) As part of MKULTRA, the CIA pays McGill University Department of Psychiatry founder Dr. D. Ewen Cameron $69,000 to perform LSD studies and potentially lethal experiments on Canadians being treated for minor disorders like post-partum depression and anxiety at the Allan Memorial Institute, which houses the Psychiatry Department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. The CIA encourages Dr. Cameron to fully explore his “psychic driving” concept of correcting madness through completely erasing one’s memory and rewriting the psyche. These “driving” experiments involve putting human test subjects into drug-, electroshock- and sensory deprivation-induced vegetative states for up to three months, and then playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements for weeks or months in order to “rewrite” the “erased” psyche. Dr. Cameron also gives human test subjects paralytic drugs and electroconvulsive therapy 30 to 40 times, as part of his experiments. Most of Dr. Cameron’s test subjects suffer permanent damage as a result of his work (Goliszek, “Donald Ewan Cameron”).
In order to study how blood flows through children’s brains, researchers at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia perform the following experiment on healthy children, ranging in age from three to 11: They insert needles into each child’s femoral artery (thigh) and jugular vein (neck), bringing the blood down from the brain. Then, they force each child to inhale a special gas through a facemask. In their subsequent Journal of Clinical Investigation article on this study, the researchers note that, in order to perform the experiment, they had to restrain some of the child test subjects by bandaging them to boards (Goliszek).
Approximately 300 members of the U.S. Navy are exposed to radiation when the Navy destroyer Mansfield detonates 30 nuclear bombs off the coasts of Pacific Islands during Operation Hardtack (Goliszek).
The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) drops radioactive materials over Point Hope, Alaska, home to the Inupiats, in a field test known under the codename “Project Chariot” (Sharav).
In response to the Nuremberg Trials, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram begins his famous Obedience to Authority Study in order to answer his question “Could it be that (Adolf) Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” Male test subjects, ranging in age from 20 to 40 and coming from all education backgrounds, are told to give “learners” electric shocks for every wrong answer the learners give in response to word pair questions. In reality, the learners are actors and are not receiving electric shocks, but what matters is that the test subjects do not know that. Astoundingly, they keep on following orders and continue to administer increasingly high levels of “shocks,” even after the actor learners show obvious physical pain (“Milgram Experiment”).
Researchers at the Laurel Children’s Center in Maryland test experimental acne antibiotics on children and continue their tests even after half of the young test subjects develop severe liver damage because of the experimental medication (Goliszek). The U.S. Army’s Deseret Test Center begins Project 112. This includes SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense), which exposes U.S. Navy and Army personnel to live toxins and chemical poisons in order to determine naval ships’ vulnerability to chemical and biological weapons. Military personnel are not test subjects; conducting the tests exposes them. Many of these participants complain of negative health effects at the time and, decades later, suffer from severe medical problems as a result of their exposure (Goliszek, Veterans Health Administration).
The FDA begins requiring that a new pharmaceutical undergo three human clinical trials before it will approve it. From 1962 to 1980, pharmaceutical companies satisfy this requirement by running Phase I trials, which determine a drug’s toxicity, on prison inmates, giving them small amounts of cash for compensation (Sharav).
Chester M. Southam, who injected Ohio State Prison inmates with live cancer cells in 1952, performs the same procedure on 22 senile, African-American female patients at the Brooklyn Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in order to watch their immunological response. Southam tells the patients that they are receiving “some cells,” but leaves out the fact that they are cancer cells. He claims he doesn’t obtain informed consent from the patients because he does not want to frighten them by telling them what he is doing, but he nevertheless temporarily loses his medical license because of it. Ironically, he eventually becomes president of the American Cancer Society (Greger, Merritte, et al.).
Researchers at the University of Washington directly irradiate the testes of 232 prison inmates in order to determine radiation’s effects on testicular function. When these inmates later leave prison and have children, at least four have babies born with birth defects. The exact number is unknown because researchers never follow up on the men to see the long-term effects of their experiment (Goliszek).
In a National Institutes of Health-sponsored (NIH) study, a researcher transplants a chimpanzee’s kidney into a human. The experiment fails (Sharav).
(1963 – 1966) New York University researcher Saul Krugman promises parents with mentally disabled children definite enrollment into the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, N.Y., a resident mental institution for mentally retarded children, in exchange for their signatures on a consent form for procedures presented as “vaccinations.” In reality, the procedures involve deliberately infecting children with viral hepatitis by feeding them an extract made from the feces of infected patients, so that Krugman can study the course of viral hepatitis as well the effectiveness of a hepatitis vaccine (Hammer Breslow).
(1963 – 1971) Leading endocrinologist Dr. Carl Heller gives 67 prison inmates at Oregon State Prison in Salem $5 per month and $25 per testicular tissue biopsy in compensation for allowing him to perform irradiation experiments on their testes. If they receive vasectomies at the end of the study, the prisoners are given an extra $100 (Sharav, Goliszek).
Researchers inject a genetic compound called radioactive thymidine into the testicles of more than 100 Oregon State Penitentiary inmates to learn whether sperm production is affected by exposure to steroid hormones (Greger).
In a study published in Pediatrics, researchers at the University of California’s Department of Pediatrics use 113 newborns ranging in age from one hour to three days old in a series of experiments used to study changes in blood pressure and blood flow. In one study, doctors insert a catheter through the newborns’ umbilical arteries and into their aortas and then immerse the newborns’ feet in ice water while recording aortic pressure. In another experiment, doctors strap 50 newborns to a circumcision board, tilt the table so that all the blood rushes to their heads and then measure their blood pressure (Goliszek).
(1964 – 1968) The U.S. Army pays $386,486 (the largest sum ever paid for human experimentation) to University of Pennsylvania Professors Albert Kligman and Herbert W. Copelan to run medical experiments on 320 inmates of Holmesburg Prison to determine the effectiveness of seven mind-altering drugs. The researchers’ objective is to determine the minimum effective dose of each drug needed to disable 50 percent of any given population (MED-50). Though Professors Kligman and Copelan claim that they are unaware of any long-term effects the mind-altering agents might have on prisoners, documents revealed later would prove otherwise (Kaye).
(1964 – 1967) The Dow Chemical Company pays Professor Kligman $10,000 to learn how dioxin — a highly toxic, carcinogenic component of Agent Orange — and other herbicides affect human skin because workers at the chemical plant have been developing an acne-like condition called Chloracne and the company would like to know whether the chemicals they are handling are to blame. As part of the study, Professor Kligman applies roughly the amount of dioxin Dow employees are exposed to on the skin 60 prisoners, and is disappointed when the prisoners show no symptoms of Chloracne. In 1980 and 1981, the human guinea pigs used in this study would begin suing Professor Kligman for complications including lupus and psychological damage (Kaye).
The Department of Defense uses human test subjects wearing rubber clothing and M9A1 masks to conduct 35 trials near Fort Greely, Ala., as part of the Elk Hunt tests, which are designed to measure the amount of VX nerve agent put on the clothing of people moving through VX-contaminated areas or touching contaminated vehicles, and the amount of VX vapor rising from these areas. After the tests, the subjects are decontaminated using wet steam and high-pressure cold water (Goliszek).
As part of a test codenamed “Big Tom,” the Department of Defense sprays Oahu, Hawaii’s most heavily populated island, with Bacillus globigii in order to simulate an attack on an island complex. Bacillus globigii causes infections in people with weakened immune systems, but this was not known to scientists at the time (Goliszek, Martin).
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