Nicolas Rasmussen

Nicolas Rasmussen
UNSW Sydney | UNSW

Professor

About

62
Publications
14,477
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1,274
Citations
Citations since 2017
9 Research Items
409 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080
2017201820192020202120222023020406080
2017201820192020202120222023020406080
2017201820192020202120222023020406080
Introduction
Nicolas Rasmussen is a historian at UNSW in Sydney. Nicolas does research in History of Biology, History of Public Health, and History of Medicine, all with a focus on the middle 20th C. From January 2023 he is co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of the History of Biology (Springer/Nature)
Additional affiliations
July 1997 - present
UNSW Sydney
July 1994 - July 1997
The University of Sydney
Position
  • University of sydney

Publications

Publications (62)
Article
Previous studies have demonstrated a sex bias when it comes to the portrayal of men and women in medical journal advertisements for prescription drugs for psychiatric conditions. However, these studies have typically looked at ads over a restricted time period and often for a single diagnosis. Here we focus on ads for 3 diagnoses – anxiety, depress...
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In 1972 Body Mass Index, BMI was put forth by physiologist Ancel Keys in his analysis of Seven Countries Study heart disease epidemiological data as the best available measure of obesity. This work culminated more than 20 years of effort by Keys to discredit the accepted measure of obesity, weight relative to height, along with a major public healt...
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In this essay I conduct a quantitative systematic review of the scholarly literature in history of life sciences, assessing how well the distribution of the activity of historians aligns with the distribution of activities of scientists across fields of biomedical research as defined by expenditures by the cognate institutes of the United States NI...
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In the late 1940s, amid elevated concern about heart disease and new funding to fight it, multiple screening emerged alongside group psychotherapy for weight loss as two innovative responses of the American public health community. I describe the early trajectory and fate in the 1950s of both programs as shaped by the ongoing political controversy...
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Controlling “America’s Opium”: Barbiturate Abuse, Pharmaceutical Regulation, and the Politics of Public Health in the Early Postwar United States - Volume 29 Issue 4 - Nicolas Rasmussen
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Amphetamine was discovered as a drug in the late 1920s, and its pharmacological effects on attention and cognition, emotions, and appetite were explored thoroughly in the 1930s and 1940s. By the late 1940s, it had achieved medical and market success as an antidepressant and was quickly gaining such success as a diet medication. In contrast, both ca...
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Since the banning of ephedrine in over-the-counter nutritional supplements a decade ago, a plethora of untested and/or unsafe sympathomimetic stimulants have taken its place. This paper argues that these 'novel' stimulants in supplements recapitulate the work of synthetic chemists at commercial pharmaceutical firms during the 1930s and 1940s, all s...
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Albert Claude (1899–1983) made major contributions to the understanding of the living cell's architecture in the 1940s, and even more importantly, to devising the methodological approach on which the discipline of cell biology is founded. This approach is marked by the coordinated use of independent experimental techniques, especially the separatio...
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AimsTo discuss an historical episode in which obesity was conceptualized as an addictive disorder and declared to be a major epidemic in the early postwar United States. This history illuminates past consequences of framing obesity as an addiction in ways that may inform constructive policy responses today.Methods Review of secondary and primary so...
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The biotech arena emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, when molecular biology, one of the fastest-moving areas of basic science in the twentieth century, met the business world. Gene Jockeys is a detailed study of the biotech projects that led to five of the first ten recombinant DNA drugs to be approved for medical use in the United States: human insul...
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This essay reconstructs in previously unavailable detail the 1980s race to clone and market what would be biotechnology's most important product to date, erythropoietin or EPO. The scientific contest continued into the U.S. courts, which were charged with deciding competing patent claims to the natural substance as a drug. Through case law in the n...
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Obesity and overweight are today recognised as subject to harmful stigma. Through an analysis of discussions of obesity in major American newspapers, the medical literature, and pharmaceutical advertising in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, I document a significant shift in medical thinking about overweight and obesity based in psychiatry, and explore t...
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Full-text available
Although amphetamine was thoroughly tested by leading scientists for its effects in boosting or maintaining physical and mental performance in fatigued subjects, the results never provided solid grounds for approving the drug's use, and, in any case, came too late to be decisive. The grounds on which amphetamine was actually adopted by both British...
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In this ambitious tome, political scientist Daniel Carpenter attempts to build some general arguments about regulation in the United States upon the historical foundation of drug regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The United States is not under-regulated, he argues: the FDA has led the world in stringency of drug regulation, esta...
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From about 1930 to the late 1960s a definition of addiction dominated in the United States that made opiate-style abstinence reactions essential, and distinguished sharply between true addiction and merely psychological drug habituation. This definition was so narrow that it left all stimulants out of the addictive category, and it was not uncontes...
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Registration of clinical trials has been introduced largely to reduce bias toward statistically significant results in the trial literature. Doubts remain about whether advance registration alone is an adequate measure to reduce selective publication, selective outcome reporting, and biased design. One of the first areas of medicine in which regist...
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Using historical research that draws on new primary sources, I review the causes and course of the first, mainly iatrogenic amphetamine epidemic in the United States from the 1940s through the 1960s. Retrospective epidemiology indicates that the absolute prevalence of both nonmedical stimulant use and stimulant dependence or abuse have reached near...
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Uppers. Crank. Bennies. Dexies. Greenies. Black Beauties. Purple Hearts. Crystal. Ice. And, of course, Speed. Whatever their street names at the moment, amphetamines have been an insistent force in American life since they were marketed as the original antidepressants in the 1930s. On Speed tells the remarkable story of their rise, their fall, and...
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Hormones: “Master Molecules” of Life Between the WarsPharmaceuticals in Peace and WarConclusion AcknowledgmentsReferences and Notes
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Penicillin . Triumph and Tragedy. By Robert Bud . Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007. 340 pp. $55, £30. ISBN 9780199254064. The author considers the discovery and deployment of penicillin (and related antibiotics) in the context of cultural and social changes over the second half of the 20th century.
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Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 61.3 (2006) 288-323 This article will argue that such accounts abbreviate and oversimplify the longstanding and complex interplay between psychiatry and the drug industry. In particular, they ignore an earlier period, beginning in the late 1930s, when amphetamine was widely used as a specific t...
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This essay describes collaborations between American pharmaceutical companies and clinical investigators, mainly in academic medical centers and other research institutions, during the interwar period. I argue that efforts on the part of early twentieth-century "scientific medicine" reformers to impose higher standards on the testing and promotion...
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This paper explores the exchange relationships underlying collaborations between pharmaceutical companies and preclinical (laboratory-based) researchers, in universities and similar contexts, during the interwar period. It also examines the arguments advanced to justify such collaborations in particular contexts as a way of investigating the percei...
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Designs for Life Molecular Biology after World War II. Soraya de Chadarevian. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2002. 443 pp. $55, £35. ISBN 0-521-57078-6. De Chadarevian examines the birth and growth of molecular biology through the prism of an account of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge.
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The Second World War is commonly said to have ushered in theera of `big science'' in the United States. However, at least inpractically-oriented biomedical research, the American governmentadopted modes of sponsorship that were commonplace between scientistsand industry before the war. Furthermore, many life scientistsleading wartime projects were...
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This essay describes the emergence of "hormone" herbicides from academic plant physiology research in America in the late 1930s and 1940s, attending especially to the role of interactions between university scientists, industrial concerns, and government (particularly agricultural) agencies. The importance of an intellectual shift among the physiol...
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In a 1993 paper, I argued that empirical treatments of the epistemologyused by scientists in experimental work are too abstract in practice tocounter relativist efforts to explain the outcome of scientificcontroversies by reference to sociological forces. This was because, atthe rarefied level at which the methodology of scientists is treated byphi...
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The development of improved techniques for studying tissues by electron microscopy parallelled the discovery and characterization of the endoplasmic reticulum. But researchers had first to be convinced that the endoplasmic reticulum wasn't an artefact produced by electron-microscopic techniques.
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Technology and Culture 40.1 (1999) 47-73 In 1944 A. L. G. Rees, a twenty-eight-year-old research and development scientist at Philips Electrical in England, answered a summons from Australia's central research agency to return to his homeland and establish a new laboratory there. His chemical physics laboratory in Melbourne would boast the latest i...
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The physiology of plant hormones was one of the most dynamic fields in experimental biology in the 1930s, and an important part of T. H. Morgan's influential life science division at the California Institute of Technology. I describe one episode of plant physiology research at the institution in which faculty member James Bonner discovered that the...
Chapter
Because without industrial help certain experimental resources would be otherwise unavailable to scientists, instruments and their supply clearly represent a potential leverage point for the influence of industrialists on the practice of science. New instruments can open new phenomena to investigation. Scientific questions become interesting — or e...
Article
Guidelines for submitting commentsPolicy: Comments that contribute to the discussion of the article will be posted within approximately three business days. We do not accept anonymous comments. Please include your email address; the address will not be displayed in the posted comment. Cell Press Editors will screen the comments to ensure that they...
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La microscopie electronique permet l'exploration des tissus et des cellules tout en preservant leur structure. Ainsi, la mitochondrie a pu etre mise en evidence apres fixation, grâce a la microscopie electronique qui a revele une structure interne complexe
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The flowers of a previously undescribed recessive mutant of tomato, green pistillate, show strong and consistent homeotic transformation of petals to sepals in whorl two and of stamens to carpels in whorl three. The phenotype at early and later stages is compared with wild type by scanning electron microscopy. Wild type and mutant show no differenc...
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The flowers of a previously undescribed recessive mutant of tomato, green pistillate, show strong and consistent homeotic transformation of petals to sepals in whorl two and of stamens to carpels in whorl three. The phenotype at early and later stages is compared with wild type by scanning electron microscopy. Wild type and mutant show no differenc...
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Full-text available
Le developpement des sciences depend-il de la comprehension de la theorie ou du reajustement des methodes experimentales? La reponse a une telle question est illustree par l'introduction et l'impact de l'adjuvant de Freund sur la recherche en immunologie
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Von Baer's laws of development observe that an embryo, in the course of its ontogeny, progresses through a series of forms which diverge increasingly from the embryonic forms of related species, and in an evolutionary interpretation, from those of its phylogenetic ancestors. This observation on the relation of phylogeny to ontogeny is explained by...
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 1992. Includes bibliographical references (p. 140-145). Photocopy. s

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