Some Scientists Have Been Their Own Guinea Pigs in the Lab

June 26, 2017

(The Washington Post) – Self-experimentation takes many forms, but basically it combines curiosity with the willingness to treat oneself as a test subject. To Lawrence K. Altman, a physician who wrote a history of how self-experimenters shaped medicine, the practice shows “a degree of altruism” that has been good for science. When researchers are willing to use themselves as guinea pigs, that “should be reassuring” to people who eventually receive those treatments, says Altman, a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a medical columnist for the New York Times. “The researcher is willing to take the risk before asking anyone else to take the risk.”

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