ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Self- And Single-Subject Experiments

Michal Jasienski [The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 10] wrote that self-experimentation and single-subject studies "represent a seriously flawed scientific methodology. Consequently, the results of all single-subject studies are bound to be erroneous." Quite a sweeping statement! Three momentous studies that disprove Jasienski's assertion come to mind: In the early 19th century, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta realized that existing electrometers were inadequate to measure currents generat

J Llaurado

Michal Jasienski [The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 10] wrote that self-experimentation and single-subject studies "represent a seriously flawed scientific methodology. Consequently, the results of all single-subject studies are bound to be erroneous." Quite a sweeping statement! Three momentous studies that disprove Jasienski's assertion come to mind:

In the early 19th century, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta realized that existing electrometers were inadequate to measure currents generated by voltaic elements. He used his bodily senses to quantitate currents-today believed sufficient to cause lethal arrhythmias on a less corpulent man than Volta-thus finding a sustained source of electricity.

French chemist Louis Pasteur successfully administered his curative vaccine for rabies to one person, thus initiating immunotherapy and immunology.

In our century, Werner Forssmann passed a ureteral catheter through a forearm vein into his heart and roentgenographically documented it.

Certainly Volta, Pasteur, and Forssmann's experiments were not erroneous. Humanity will continue to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT