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History of Medicine in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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Dr. Frank Tyler and his associates in the Department of Medicine laid the groundwork for later genetic studies through their investigation of several familial diseases such as muscular dystrophy, phenylketonuria, polyposis of the bowel, and others. Geneticist Eldon Gardner studied familial polyposis of the large bowel associated with benign subcutaneous tumors (Gardner's Syndrome). Radiologist Henry Plenk discovered multiple bony tumors associated in all patients with this condition (Plenk-Gardner Syndrome).

The hematology section explored the mechanisms and treatment of various anemias and supported Wintrobe's pioneering efforts in treating lymphomas and leukemias with chemotherapy. Utah was selected as one of four centers funded to develop a polio vaccine; the breakthroughs came in Pittsburgh in 1953 and in Cincinnati in 1954. Through inventive public-vaccination campaigns, poliomyelitis was effectively wiped out. The infectious disease section played a major role in the recognition of toxic shock syndrome in women and its relationship to a brand of "super" tampons being test-marketed regionally.

In gastroenterology, the development of newer drugs to reduce gastric acidity reduced the need for gastric resection of peptic ulcers. The development and perfection of upper and lower gastrointestinal (G.I.) flexible endoscopy revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases of the G.I. tract and allowed biopsies and removal of polyps without major surgery.

In pulmonary medicine, a drive to eradicate tuberculosis by early diagnosis and chemoprophylaxis with the drug Isoniazid led to a dramatic reduction of the disease, particularly among the state's Native American population, and the eventual closing of the State Tuberculosis Hospital in Roy, Utah, in 1967.


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