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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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efforts in the ‘50s were the fact that the new drugs against hypertension were beginning to pay off. Between 1952 and 1959 the death rate from hypertensive heart disease declined 29 percent; it has declined still further, over 33 percent and maybe more now.

Q:

This is tangible evidence.

Lasker:

This is tangible evidence. The Heart Institute itself had given early support to clinical trials of drugs against hypertension. Before that there was nothing you could do, just tell people to take aspirin or nembutol or something or other and just remain quiet and not work so hard.

In addition, another big payoff was beginning to become apparent, in the use of the new tranquilizing drugs, which my sister and I, with Jane McDonough, heard about first in a meeting that Nate Klein spoke at in February of 1954. This was the first time that the influence of Serpasil and Thorazine had been discussed at a public research meeting and it was so astonishing that people couldn't really believe it. However, we believed Klein and we became a friend of his and were very impressed with him.

The total mental health population by--these tranquilizing drugs became widely used in ‘55, began to be used in some state hospitals in ‘55 and by ‘59 there was a beginning of a drop in the steadily rising population of mental hospitals



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