Monday, June 5, 2017

"No Justification For Abandoning Hope"

Perhaps because of my role in the recent Nova Scotia election, there has been an uptick in interest in my blogs.

Some asked about the story behind the title & subtile of this blog and put on the spot, I was able to give a concise but not totally adequate verbal answer.

I told people the blog title was based on a striking quote from the last journal article from Penicillin & DNA pioneer, Nova Scotian-born Dr Martin Henry Dawson, 1896-1945.

Eh ? Who ?

Now let me expand further, in only the space that print allowed.

That journal article was published in February 1946 -- almost a year after Dawson died.

So the actual words are those of his co-worker & co-author Thomas H Hunter. But I am 200% confident (based upon the life careers of Dawson & Hunter) that the sentiments are strictly those of Dawson himself.

You can look up the quote yourself on  page 184 of  the Annals of Internal Medicine, volume 24, number 2, 1946.

For five years, during the height of WWII, Dr Dawson hastened his own death from a progressively terminal case of Bulbar Myasthenia Gravis by holding fast to his beliefs against fierce opposition from the world's medical  & scientific community and indeed the all-powerful Allied governments.

He stood alone, against the entire world's medical and scientific communities, in believing three heretic ideas.

The first,that crude natural penicillin was at least as good as man-made patented penicillin.

Secondly, that it was perfectly safe to use as a systemic antibiotic as well as an external antiseptic.

Thirdly, that among the many diseases natural systemic penicillin could cure was SBE, sub-acute bacterial endocarditis, the Mount Everest of infectious disease and hitherto considered to be 100% fatal.

In the end, he was proven to be totally correct and all other doctors & scientists to be totally wrong.

Dawson's  non-patented, cheap, abundant, safe , crude naturally grown penicillin remains a viable antibiotic to this day and more over is the feedstock for most of the world's antibiotics.

Once grown by humans in micrograms quantities annually, it is now grown in thousands of kilo-tonnes annually.

It remains the world's most outstanding success in biological chemistry and a success that literally changed not just medicine but indeed how the whole world thinks about our relationship to Nature.

Well, not the whole world : a big shout-out to Donnie Trump, Mikie Pence and Stevie Harper !

Alexander Fleming's un-bending belief that penicillin was only useful as an external antiseptic and only then if it was synthetic was proven to be wrong.

 (No problem -- the ever-inept Swedes gave him the Nobel prize anyway) --- today we only use it  the way that Dawson pioneered : as an internal systemic LIFE-SAVING medication.

In the early 1950s, the same scientist who written in a journal article back in the early 1940s that SBE was the least curable of all major heart diseases now said in print that it was the most curable - and all this thanks to the dying Dr Dawson's dogged courage.

In the early 1940s, the world's scientists & doctors saw the penicillium that produced natural penicillin as nothing but Green Slime : Dawson saw it instead as Green Hope, hope that a war-torn world so badly needed to revive its spirits to unite around as a reason to defeat the Axis of Evil.

(Actually the medical & scientific world had given a very cursive glance to using the Green Slime to cure disease but then had abandoned hope at the first hurdle.)

But the dying Dr Dawson did not abandon hope, instead soldiering on until the world began to accept his vision and he could die in peace, his job done.

Seventy five years later I ,too, soldier on - albeit in apparent better health.

I seek to offer up hope to an equally troubled world, the renewed hope that can come from a belief in a prosperous, healthy, peaceful world thriving on the use of safe green renewable resources and  safe green renewable energy.

And Dawson's vision continues to inspire me whenever I get temporarily down and depressed , as so often I do...

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