The 1940s Medicine and Health: Chronology
The 1940s Medicine and Health: Chronology
1940: August 28 The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis sends aid to Indiana, where there is a massive poliomyelitis (polio) outbreak.
1940: December An influenza epidemic begins in California and spreads to Oregon, Washington State, New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho.
1941: Clinical trials of penicillin begin.
1941: March 25 The most serious measles epidemic in years breaks out along the East Coast and begins to spread westward across America.
1941: March 27 Residents of New York are offered preventive medical care and treatment for $24 a year by the non-profit organization Group Health Association, Inc.
1941: May 5 After successful trials, penicillin is unveiled to the public.
1941: September A nationwide polio epidemic kills eighty-seven people.
1942: The American Red Cross begins collecting blood to help battlefield casualties.
1942: The Kenny method of treating polio by massage is hotly disputed within the medical profession.
1942: June Promising progress is made toward developing a vaccine against whooping cough.
1942: October 16 In Georgia, health officials call for all victims of sexually transmitted diseases to be kept in isolation.
1943: The antibiotic streptomycin is discovered.
1943: July A polio epidemic spreads through Texas, California, Washington State, Kansas, and New York.
1943: September 8 The American Chemical Society announces the discovery of "Penicillin B." The new drug is ten times more powerful than standard penicillin.
1943: November 3 The U.S. Census Bureau announces that 163,400 Americans died from cancer in 1942.
1943: November 25 The Schenley Distillers Corporation develops a new and more efficient method of making penicillin.
1944: March 3 The drug Benzedrene, a prescription amphetamine, is used by military pilots to keep them awake on long missions.
1944: June 15 The American Medical Association (AMA) files a report criticizing the Kenny massage method of treating polio.
1944: August 26 The New York State Hospital Commission announces the success of electroshock treatments in helping mental patients to lead normal lives.
1945: February Penicillin that can be taken orally is introduced.
1945: March 23 The U.S. Census Bureau announces that twice as many Americans have died of cancer in 1944 as in the year 1900.
1945: May 23 Typhus patients are treated successfully with streptomycin for the first time.
1945: December 16 A new sulfa drug, metachloride, proves successful in treating malaria.
1946: The American Academy of Dental Medicine is founded.
1946: The first synthetic penicillin is produced.
1946: August 9 The U.S. Public Health Service announces that the country is in the grip of the worst polio epidemic since 1916.
1946: October 27 Reported cases of syphilis increased by 42 percent in the twelve months ending June 30, 1946.
1947: February 10 In a poll for the Planned Parenthood Federation, 97.8 percent of American doctors say they are in favor of birth control.
1947: March 18 Children born in the aftermath of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, have an unusually high number of abnormalities, according to a report by the Atomic Bomb Casualties Commission.
1947: July 19 The University of Illinois announces that it will soon begin the first large-scale production of BCG, a vaccine for tuberculosis.
1947: October 3 The American Association of Science Workers states that bacteriological warfare is now the world's most important terror weapon.
1948: May 3 At the University of Minnesota, the polio virus is isolated in concentrated form for the first time.
1948: August 10 The American Cancer Society announces that $3.5 million will be spent on cancer research in the coming year.
1948: October 18 In New York City, an experiment begins to see if fluoride prevents tooth decay. Fifty thousand children have their teeth coated with sodium fluoride.
1948: December 20 Five nuclear scientists are found to be going blind because of their work with radioactive materials.
1949: February 27 The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute issue a report linking smoking with lung cancer.
1949: August 12 The U.S. Public Health Service announces that the average life span of Americans has risen to 66.8 years, up from 65 years in 1939.