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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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10 million people alone, and the other diseases affected fewer people but there was certainly some reason why something should be done about them. However, Pepper and the Senate committee were persuaded that they would group the bills and make two institutes out of the group. They, consequently, decided to report out an omnibus research bill which provided for the establishment of a national institute for arthritis and metabolic diseases and a national institute for neurological diseases and blindness. Pepper was a vital factor in the reporting of this bill.

Now, the way the word “blindness” got into the Neurological Diseases Institute is this: During the spring of 1949, Miss Mildren Weidenfeld, Dr. Hinsey of Harvard and Mr. Ulmer of Clevel and, Ohio, came to see me about the problem of blindness in the United States. I had not thought much about this problem, as I had not had anybody close to me who was blind, and I had not realized how little was being done for research in this field. The only experience I had had with blindness or with the fear of blindness was the experience with my first husband, who had this terrible infection of the eye, which undoubtedly now would have been greated with ACTH or cortisone and might have been eliminated in a day or two. But I hadn't really gotten into the field of how little was being done about blindness at this time.

They told me that less than a million dollars was being spent in the whole nation for research against blindness, although the Federal Government and the states were providing in '48 about

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