Macht, David I.

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MACHT, DAVID I. (1882–1961), U.S. pharmacologist. Macht, who was born in Moscow, was educated in the U.S. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School where he lectured in pharmacology from 1912 to 1932. From 1933 to 1941 he served as visiting professor of general physiology at Yeshiva College (see *Yeshiva University) and from 1944 onward was consultant and research pharmacologist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Macht published over 900 scientific studies in his field and introduced a number of new methods of treatment of diseases. He discovered the curative qualities of benzyl alcohol as a substitute for cocaine; he found that morphine and codeine have a sedative or depressant effect on the respiratory center as opposed to other narcotic drugs that act as stimulants; he proved that a difference exists in the biological effects produced by Roentgen rays of varying wavelength and introduced a cure for pemphigus by application of "deep" X-rays; he made a special study of the thromboplastic properties of various medical agents, especially of antibiotics. He also did extensive research on the pharmacology of blood and spinal fluid of psychotic patients. An Orthodox Jew, Macht constantly attempted to show the harmonious relationship between religion and science. He studied medical descriptions appearing in the Bible and the Talmud and showed that many of the so-called "miracles" or "medical stupidities" were in reality accurate descriptions of either diseases or their treatments. (Some of these are listed in Friedenwald, The Jews and Medicine, 2 (19672), index.)


S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1952), 217–9; New York Times (Oct. 16, 1961), 29.

[Suessmann Muntner]