JUL 02, 2017 12:48 PM PDT

The man who Experimented on Himself

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

For years, one researcher tried to convince the scientific community that he knew what was really behind ulcers, a painful stomach problem that could eventually lead to death. He knew the culprit was not stress, but was instead Heliobacter pylori, a bacterium. Patients were not receiving the treatment they needed, and they could go on to develop stomach cancer. The researcher, Barry Marshall, decided to take drastic measures, testing his hypothesis on himself.

The H. pylori bacterium only affects primates, thus mouse models were not effective in proving his point so Marshall drank bacterial broth and gave himself an ulcer. He felt that he would be the only ethical choice for a human subject. The broth he drank had been cultured with a bacterial sample from a patient, and after ingesting it and developing the symptoms of an ulcer, doing a biopsy on his own gut proved the point. The work Marshall did on this problem won him and a colleague a Nobel prize. Get the whole story from the video.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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