Natural history and the clinic: The regional ecology of allergy in America

This paper challenges the presumed triumph of laboratory life in the history of twentieth-century biomedical research through an exploration of the relationships between laboratory, clinic, and field in the regional understanding and treatment of allergy in America. In the early establishment of allergy clinics, many physicians opted to work closely with botanists knowledgeable about the local flora in the region to develop pollen extracts in desensitization treatments, rather than rely upon pharmaceutical companies that had adopted a principle of standardized vaccines beholden to bacteriology that gave no thought to the particularities of place where their products were to be sold. Natural historical sciences like plant ecology and systematics furnished important knowledge, resources, and practices in establishing a medical marketplace for allergy in America. And botanists similarly profited from biomedicine and allergic bodies in extending their network of knowledge about the plant world.
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DOI 10.1016/S1369-8486(03)00049-9
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M. Jackson (2003). John Freeman, Hay Fever and the Origins of Clinical Allergy in Britain, 1900-1950. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (3):473-490.

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